Creating a parenting plan is a key part of your divorce process when you have minor children. When you and your spouse determine what to include in this plan, each item must support your child’s well-being and meet their needs. This is crucial for a family law judge to approve it. Child custody and visitation schedule are central to your parenting plan, but you and your spouse need to reach an agreement on other elements regarding your children’s upbringing.
In Florida, the judge will take into account your child’s best interests when making a final decision about a parenting plan. Custody arrangements do not favor mothers or fathers but are instead based on your family’s specific circumstances.
What Is in a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a provision establishing how you and your spouse will take care of your child after your divorce. The more amicable the separation is, the smoother the process can go.
Your parenting plan should include:
- Visitation schedule
- How the child spend time with both parents and possibly other relatives
- Where your children go to school
- Healthcare for your child
- Extracurricular activities
- Specific privileges or activity restrictions
There is no requirement for a time-sharing schedule, but common solutions include a weekly exchange, two weeks at a time, or specific days of the week spent with each parent. This usually depends on your and your spouse’s place of residence, work schedule, and other obligations.
Types of Parenting Plans in Florida
When reviewing your proposed parenting plan and deciding what is best for your child, the judge considers the following factors:
- Parents’ ability to keep a healthy emotional relationship with your child
- Stability of each living environment
- Parental finances
- Both parents’ and child’s health
- Children’s educational and other needs
Florida generally uses one of four types of parenting plans: basic, long-distance, highly structured, or safety-focused.
A basic or long-distance plan requires that the parents agree on most matters relevant to their child’s schedule and life, and that they communicate well. The parents must have no history of domestic violence, child abuse, or substance issue. The only difference between both plans is whether the parents are planning to live more than 50 miles apart.
If the parents have difficulty communicating or agreeing, the judge may choose a highly structured plan if there is no history of child abuse, substance problems, or domestic violence. In the case of abuse, domestic violence, or criminal activity, the judge typically opts for a safety-focused plan to minimize risks for the children and the other parent.
Florida does not require you to have an attorney for child custody cases, but it is helpful to hire one. A family lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure that your child’s and your interests are protected. Preparing a strong and acceptable parenting plan also helps receive approval from the judge.
Are you looking for an experienced family lawyer in Altamonte Springs? Contact the Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, L.L.C. today at (407) 753-4111 to schedule an appointment.