Developing a Parenting Plan
One of the most difficult aspects of many divorces is determining how parenting time and decision making responsibility will be divided. In fact, coming up with a time sharing schedule is not optional in Florida, but is required by law and is referred to as a parenting plan. Parenting plans are binding contracts that govern the relationship between parents and their children following a divorce.
While many parents are able to put aside their differences and negotiate an agreement that is in all parties’ best interests, this is not always possible, in which case, courts are required to step in and create a plan on the parents’ behalf. This takes a significant amount of power out of the parents’ hands, so most couples are strongly encouraged to cooperate in coming up with an out-of-court parenting plan that details how parenting time will be divided, including how children will spend vacations, who will be responsible for certain types of decision making, and how transportation to and from each parent’s house will be handled.
However, even when families are able to draft their own parenting plans, they will only be made legally binding by the court after they have been approved and deemed to be in the child’s best interests. To ensure that your own parenting plan meets all legal requirements and will not be denied by the court for a failure to comply with state law, you should speak with an experienced child custody lawyer who can advise you.
How to Create a Parenting Plan
There are a number of tactics that parents can use when drafting their own parenting plan. For instance, many couples find it beneficial to each create a proposal with the five required topics, which include:
- Details about overnight stays, including how many each parent will have with the child;
- How much time each parent will have with the child during the day;
- How much time the parties will spend together in recreational activities and vacations;
- Who will make daily parenting decisions about the child’s daily routine; and
- How parents will divide decision making responsibility over issues such as education and religion.
Creating their own version of a parenting plan can allow the parties to start negotiations and gain a better understanding of the other party’s needs. Another method that many parents use is to create a typical schedule for their child that outlines what his or her week would look like when with that parent. This can help the parents mediate amongst themselves about what each party’s priorities are and how they plan to raise their child.
Drafting a parenting plan can be a daunting task, especially for parents who disagree on childrearing. Fortunately, there are a few tips that parents can use to help write a plan that focuses on a child’s best interests, including:
- Creating the schedule as soon as possible during the negotiations;
- Remaining reasonable when planning an arrangement;
- Discussing any concerns about visitation early in the process;
- Respecting each other when negotiating;
- Remaining focused on the needs of the child;
- Keeping open channels of communication with the other party; and
- Having a clear grasp of Florida’s parenting plan laws.
Implementing some or all of these tips can help divorcing parents create a plan that works for all parties, including their child, while making the transition to post-divorce life as painless as possible.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
Please call 954-945-7591 today to speak with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about drafting your own parenting plan.