Per Florida law, a parenting plan is required for any family law case that involves timesharing of a minor child. Therefore, even if you and your co-parent agree on all matters regarding custody and visitation, you will still need to establish a court-approved parenting plan. So, how do you know what should be included in this document? Today, we will review what a parenting plan is and what information you should cover.
What Does a Parenting Plan Cover?
When thinking about a parenting plan it is important to consider your child’s needs above all else. You may want to consider your child’s interests, nutrition, medical care, education, sleep schedule, and how you will love, protect, and guide your child as he/she gets older. Florida law provides the necessary details that must be included in every parenting plan entered by a Florida Court. These are as follows:
- How the parents will share daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child
- What will be included in the time-sharing schedule arrangements, including how much time a minor child will spend with each parent
- Designate who will be responsible for health care and school-related matters, including which parent’s address will be used to determine which school district the child will be in
- How the parents will communicate with the child (by which methods, using what kind of technology)
This document not only covers how the parents will care for the child, but also how interactions will be held between each parent and the child. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that this parenting plan is in line with your interests.
You should also make sure that your plan covers physical and legal custody matters. Physical custody covers where the child will live and spend their time. Some questions to consider regarding physical custody include but are not limited to:
- Where will the child live during the week and weekend?
- Where will the child be during holidays, Christmas break, summer vacation, and other special dates?
- Which parent will be responsible for ensuring the child gets to after-school activities?
- Which parent will help the child with his/her homework and school projects?
- Which parent is in charge at which times?
- How will the child go from one parent’s house to the other’s? Who will pay for the costs associated with transportation?
Can You Add in Any Other Applicable Details into Your Parenting Plan?
Outside of the minimum requirements listed above, you and your co-parent can include any other applicable details you would like for your child’s benefit. You will want to be careful with the language that you use to avoid confusion in the future. You might want to include information related to the child’s church schedule, education, healthcare, after-school activities, vacation time, and more.
You may also want to establish important dates in your parenting plan where you would like to spend the day (or multiple days) with your child. For example, you may wish to include that on your birthday you get to spend time with your child. You will also need to create a timesharing schedule for holidays, school breaks, and other important dates in your life.
Why Are Parenting Plans Important?
Parenting plans cover how your child will be cared for and how decisions affecting the child’s life will go. Therefore, it is advisable to take time and consideration before creating one. If you require support, you can consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that everything you want addressed in this document is taken care of. Additionally, if you want advice on what to include in a parenting plan, a lawyer can help you with this.
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