26 Oct Preparing a Parenting Plan in Florida
When going through divorce proceedings, parents are almost always tasked with creating a parenting plan – a time-sharing schedule that will determine each parent’s interactions with their child or children. When parents or courts decide that the parents will have joint custody, they are required by law to develop a parenting plan, even if custody is not disputed. Therefore, knowing how to create a parenting plan is essential to everyone going through a divorce.
Many aspects define the whole of a parenting plan in Florida, including religious, educational, and health plans. Knowing how to ensure your child is taken care of by your spouse is essential, especially since you may disagree about how to care for your children; in fact, that may be one of the reasons that you divorced in the first place. The purpose of this guide is to help educate you on the many rights you have when negotiating these terms – read on to find out how to create the best parenting plan for your child.
What is a parenting plan?
The purpose of the Florida parenting plan is to ensure that, even though a child’s parents are divorced, he or she is still taken care of as comprehensively as possible. The child’s welfare is always put first when creating a parenting plan; even though each parent may have an opinion on what is best for him or her, ultimately the child’s well-being holds precedence.
Generally, a parenting plan explains the role and responsibility of each parent in the child’s life, as well as which parent has decision-making authority for which aspects of child care. A parenting plan starts out by explaining whether the parents have shared parental responsibility, in which all decisions are made jointly; shared responsibility with one parent having decision-making authority over a certain aspect of the child’s life, such as education or medical care; or sole responsibility, in which one parent makes all pertinent decisions for the child.
The parenting plan also includes details of the child’s academic and extracurricular schedule, as well as scheduling each parent’s time with the child. It is crucial to have these details set down on paper, as this avoids time-consuming and confusing conflicts later down the road. In this format, each parent’s role and time with the child is made clear. Transportation, exchange, and educational details also feature prominently in the parenting plan, so that the day-to-day decisions of each parent do not conflict with each other regarding these important areas.
Finally, parents must agree on the child’s continued religious upbringing and health care in the parenting plan. Both of these are crucial aspects of the child’s life, and to minimize the adverse impacts of a divorce on these areas, parents should discuss how they would like the child to be raised from a religious perspective, if at all, as well as what kinds of health care costs and procedures should be conducted.
How do I create a parenting plan?
Generally, a parenting plan is drafted by both parents in conjunction with their family lawyer or lawyers, who help them hammer out the details as well as smooth over any conflicts that they may have when discussing the details of the plan. After the plan is finalized between the two parents and their attorneys, it must be signed by a judge and filed with the court, at which time it becomes a court order.
What if my spouse doesn’t stick to the plan?
Parents who divorce while their children are minors are required by Florida state law to take parenting classes sanctioned by the state, which will help newly divorced parents understand their commitment to their children as well as what this transition requires of them. However, despite this extra aid, some parents may still find themselves failing to uphold the agreement set down by the parenting plan, in which case they may face retribution from the courts. The welfare of the child is always placed first in situations where there is conflict, so both parents are expected to stick to the parenting plan, which ultimately sets down the guidelines for what is best for the child.
If you find that your spouse is not sticking to his or her end of the parenting plan, you can take legal action in alerting the courts, which can possibly lead your spouse’s parenting rights to be revoked. Talk to your attorney if you have reason to believe that your ex-spouse is not following along with his or her side of the parenting plan.