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A parenting plan outlines exactly how divorcing parents will share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. Parents who are in agreement can submit a joint parenting plan to the court, while those involved in litigation can each submit a proposed plan, with the help of an experienced family law attorney. The judge will review the proposals and create a final plan based on the evidence presented.
When creating a parenting plan, the primary concern should be the best interests of the child(ren) involved. This is determined by a thorough examination of the following factors:
The capacity of each parent to protect the children from any ongoing litigation and to refrain from making disparaging comments about the other parent to the children will also be seriously considered.
There are four different types of approved parenting plans that can be created in Florida, based on the needs of the children and the circumstances of the family:
In 2018, the standard parenting time plan, intended to streamline parenting plans for unmarried parents, went into effect in Florida. This plan is sent directly to both parents when the Child Support Program is attempting to establish paternity or establishing or modifying a support order, and typically determines where the child will live and how parental responsibility will be shared.
A parenting plan should, at a minimum, describe the following in detail:
The plan should be as detailed as possible and may contain other issues relevant to the circumstances of each individual case. Special consideration should be given to the age and needs of each child and each parent’s capacity to meet them.
An approved Florida parenting plan can be modified only if one of the following circumstances exist:
If you and the other parent agree to the changes, you can file your new plan with the court and it will typically be accepted, but if you seek a modification but the other parent does not agree, you will need to file a modification with the court or petition to change the timesharing order, attend a hearing, and the judge will decide if the modification is acceptable. If the judge approves the modification, the new parenting plan will become official.
Are you and your spouse struggling to put together a parenting plan that will be in the best interests of your children and also satisfy the court? Vero Beach, Florida Attorney Susan Chesnutt has dedicated her entire practice to child-welfare, and as a former social worker who knows Florida family law inside and out, she can provide the guidance your family needs. For legal advice regarding parenting plans, contact our firm online or call 772-492-3330 today.