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Understanding Parenting Plans In Florida

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Jul 12 2021

Understanding Parenting Plans in Florida

In divorce cases where there are children, the courts are always going to look at what is best for the children involved.  Custody laws in Florida support children maintaining frequent contact and relationships with both parents.  Florida is considered an equal rights state which means that neither parent has an advantage over the other.  The courts view that both parents have equal rights to custody of the child or children.

Florida courts require a parenting plan in every divorce case with children.  Judges prefer seeing parents come to an agreement about the care of the children before coming to court.  However, it is not uncommon for parents to not be able to agree on parenting terms.  In this situation the court then establishes the parenting plan based on many factors but always with the goal of the best interest of the child.  It is in everyone’s best interest to have an agreed upon parenting plan to present to the judge.

What is a Parenting Plan

In Florida, a parenting plan is a custody agreement that addresses the care and support of each individual child that has been approved by the courts.  The basic idea of the plan is to outline how the child will be raised and how each parent will participate in their lives.  The plan addresses time-sharing, education, healthcare and other issues specific to the child.  It is a good idea to try and anticipate future issues and how they will be handled to avoid having to go back to court for modifications.

What to Include in Parenting Plan

For a parenting plan to be accepted and approved by the courts there are elements that must be included.  These are:

  • Clear outline that details the time the child will spend with each parent.
  • Who has the primary responsibility of education and designated address for school.
  • Who is responsible for healthcare and medical decisions.
  • How each parent will handle the daily task of raising the child and how unexpected issues will be handled.
  • How decisions will be made on extra-curricular activities to include finances, participation and transportation. Child-care and after-school care should also be addressed.
  • How parents will communicate with one another as well as how child will communicate with other parent.
  • How parents will handle drop-offs and pick-ups.
  • Schedule for holidays, summer and vacations.

It is important to try and address all possible issues that may arise with the children from now until they graduate.  It is difficult to go back to court and modify plans after the fact.  Try to address things like the cost of extra-curricular activities, buying a car for the child, car insurance, college costs and other items as they get older.

Types of Parenting Plans

The Florida Supreme Court has approved plans to provide guidance to parents in three separate circumstances.  The first is for parents who live relatively close to one another.  The second is for parents that live far away from each other or are planning on relocating.  The last one is safety-focused with third party supervision when there is concern for the child’s safety.  

It is so important to have a clear and concise parenting plan when divorcing with children.  As we have said before, it is difficult to go back and modify plans, it is vital to get it right the first time.  Having a detailed plan can help eliminate issues and arguments in the future.  Ensuring that all important items are covered will preserve your input and time spent with your children now and in the future.

Divorces are complicated and emotional especially when it comes to time sharing and parenting plans and you need an ally. We have the experience, resources, and skills required to provide you with empathetic and compassionate legal service. Trust the experienced team of attorneys at Florida Women’s Law Group who are committed to providing you a positive experience all while seamlessly handling the meticulous details.

Florida Women’s Law Group