A Checklist For Your Florida Parenting Plan
For parents who are grappling with divorce, devising a detailed parenting plan that satisfies all of Florida’s legal requirements is crucial not only to the smooth resolution of their case, but also to a child’s long-term stability and peace of mind. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the most important components of a well-rounded parenting plan, helping ensure that you don’t miss any steps when attempting to safeguard your child’s best interests.
A Time-Sharing Schedule
One of the most important elements of a carefully crafted parenting plan is the time-sharing schedule, which dictates when a child will spend time with each parent, not only during the weekdays, but:
- On the weekends;
- Over the holidays; and
- During spring, summer, and winter vacations.
Under Florida law, it is presumed that an equal time-sharing schedule is in a child’s best interests. What this schedule actually looks like, however, will vary depending on the family in question. Whatever form the schedule takes, it is important that families clearly outline it, as this helps prevent future conflicts and ensures that the arrangement is serving their child’s developmental and emotional needs.
Decision-Making in Co-Parenting
Another thing that all Florida parenting plans must address is each party’s decision-making responsibilities. This encompasses how a couple will make decisions about a child’s education, healthcare, moral and religious upbringing, and emotional development. In most child custody cases, parents share responsibility for making major decisions about their child’s well-being and care. It is only in rare circumstances that a parent will be granted sole authority to make those decisions. In either case, the parents should be guided by what would be in a child’s best interests when determining how decision-making authority will be shared.
Effective Communication Strategies
A well-crafted parenting plan should also include details about the communication protocols between the child and his or her parents and between the parents themselves. Be sure to clarify the type of communication the parties will engage in, as well as the frequency, and any specific conditions for communication. Parents could agree, for instance, that regardless of where the child is spending the night, he or she calls and checks in with the other parent before going to bed. Texting, video chatting, and emailing could also be used to ensure that the parents stay in contact with their child.
Another issue that parents will need to address in their parenting plans is transportation and how parents will exchange custody of their child. To avoid conflict later on, parents should be sure to incorporate clearly defined arrangements, with specific drop-off points, times, and contingency plans in the event of a change in schedule. Having a solid, clear-cut plan in place not only helps keep a child’s transitions safe and smooth, but helps parents avoid disagreements, conflicts, and last minute changes.
The Legal Representation You Deserve
For help coming up with a comprehensive parenting plan during your divorce, please call experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591. We can offer your guidance that is tailored to your case, while also helping you navigate Florida’s legal system.