Drafting a Florida Parenting Plan

As parents share the responsibility for raising their children, they take on specific roles regarding family schedules, school, household chores, extracurricular activities and discipline. When parents divorce, those roles change as the family divides into two households. In every case involving time-sharing, once called joint custody, with a minor child in Florida, the parents must draft a Parenting Plan – even if the parents agree about how they share time with their children. Florida parents should understand what goes into a Parenting Plan and how those plans must be written in the best interests of the child.

Elements of a Parenting Plan Florida Parenting Plans must include provisions providing detailed explanations about:

  • How the parents are going to share responsibility for daily tasks regarding the child’s upbringing
  • How the parents will share time with the child, including a specific schedule of the time that each parent has with the child
  • The address that the parents will use to determine school enrollment and participation in extracurricular activities
  • The decision-making authority each parent has regarding health care, education, religious training and similar areas
  • The ways that parents will communicate with children, including the technologies that parents will employ to communicate with their children
  • Best interests of the child
  • When parents draft a Parenting Plan, they are supposed to create arrangements that meet the child’s best interest.

When parents cannot agree upon a Parenting Plan, the court will step in and create a plan, based on factors enumerated in Florida statute, including:

  • How willing and able each parent is to encourage a close relationship between the other parent and the child and to respect the time-sharing agreement
  • How parental duties will be divided, including how these duties may be delegated to third parties
  • Each parent’s ability to consider the child’s needs and act on those needs
  • How long a child has lived in a stable environment and the benefits of maintaining stability
  • Geographic factors involved in the Parenting Plan and the impact it may have on children attending school
  • Each parent’s moral fitness
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • The child’s home, school and community involvement
  • Each parent’s knowledge of details of the child’s life, such as medical providers, friends, teachers and similar matters
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide a consistent routine for the child
  • The willingness of each parent to communicate with the other about issues pertaining to the child
  • How the parents have divided parental responsibilities in the past
  • How involved each parent is in the child’s schooling
  • Whether there is evidence of domestic violence or abuse
  • Whether each parent will maintain an environment free from substance abuse for the child
  • The developmental stage of the child and whether each parent will meet the child’s needs in that stage
  • Whether each parent will protect the child by not discussing litigation with the child or disparaging the other parent to the child

Talk to a lawyer Parenting Plans are important tools in helping Florida parents maintain their relationships with their children even after they are no longer romantically involved with the other parent. It is important for people to have the assistance of a seasoned Parenting Plan attorney when creating a Parenting Plan to help ensure that each parent’s rights to parent their child are protected and reduce the chances of future litigation. If you have questions about Parenting Plans, contact a Florida family law attorney who can advise you about your specific circumstances.