Drafting a Florida Parenting Plan
In Florida, couples with children can’t officially get divorced until they come up with a parenting plan that outlines how they will share custody. These agreements must contain certain information, including not only a visitation schedule, but also a description of how the parents will share parental responsibilities. A failure to include any of these topics will likely result in the parenting plan being rejected and amended by the judge. One of the best ways to avoid this is to work with an experienced attorney who can ensure that your agreement is detailed, clear, and legally enforceable.
What Must be Included in a Parenting Plan?
There are certain things that Florida parenting plans must address, including:
- A time-sharing schedule specifying the time that a child will spend with each parent;
- A description of how the parents will share and be responsible for daily caretaking responsibilities; and
- A description of the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.
A parenting plan must also specifically designate which parent will be responsible for:
- Making healthcare-related decisions on the child’s behalf;
- Addressing school-related issues; and
- Any other relevant activities.
It’s important to note, however, that this is only the bare minimum of the topics that a parenting plan must cover to be legally enforceable in Florida. It is still possible and usually encouraged for parents to include any other details that will help establish the most beneficial and clear-cut custody arrangement.
Other Topics You Can Include in Your Parenting Plan
Besides the basics required under Florida law, parents can also include more details in their parenting plans. Parents can, for instance, add details about their child’s extracurricular activities, including who will transport the child to the activity and how the cost will be covered. Parenting plans can also include information about how a child will spend religious holidays, whether they have visitation with extended family members, and details about the process the parties will use for resolving disputes if they cannot agree on a change in schedule or other issue.
Finalizing a Parenting Plan
Even when two parents are able to come up with their own parenting plan in an out-of-court setting, the arrangement will only become official once it has been finalized. This in turn, requires the submission of the final plan to the court for approval. The judge then has discretion to either approve the plan or alter it if he or she deems it in the child’s best interests to do so. If, however, the parents are unable to agree on the terms of the parenting plan, then each will need to submit a separate proposal to the court. The judge will then review each plan before coming up with and finalizing an arrangement.
Available for Evening and Weekend Appointments
Coming up with a parenting plan that best suits your family’s specific needs can be difficult. For help, please reach out to the experienced Largo child custody lawyers at Cairns Law today. You can schedule a meeting with our legal team by calling 727-683-1472 or by sending an online message.