What You Need to Know About Parenting Plans in Florida

When parents divorce in Florida, one of their main concerns is usually the custody of the children. It’s a highly emotional aspect of divorce that you can negotiate with your spouse and finalize in a parenting plan that outlines how you will both share the rights and responsibilities of raising your children. This plan will cover issues like the following:

  • Sharing of parental rights, responsibilities, and child care duties
  • Sharing of decisions regarding matters such as education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and religious participation
  • The distribution of expenses related to education, medical care, and child care
  • Scheduling details for time-sharing
  • What will happen with transportation and child exchanges

A good parenting plan is extremely nuanced and should contain as much detail as possible regarding each parent’s time with the children. You have to plan for everything, although this may not come naturally. If your child is three at the time of the divorce, you may not be thinking about what the situation may be when they’re 16. It’s important to look as far ahead as possible and make sure your parenting plan accommodates reasonably foreseeable changes.

About Time-sharing

Unlike many states, Florida doesn’t use the term ‘custody.’ Instead, courts use the term ‘time-sharing,’ which suggests cooperation. When you put your parenting plan together, it typically includes a table explaining how the children will spend time with each parent.

Time-sharing schedules can be very detailed, including pick-up times and drop-off times, as well as specific holidays that each of you will have the children. You and your spouse can negotiate one that supports your individual circumstances, draft it with help from your respective divorce attorneys, and have it approved by the court.

What if You and Your Spouse Can’t Agree on a Time-sharing Schedule?

While Florida law allows parents to negotiate and present their own parenting plan and time-sharing schedule, the court will have to make that decision if you can’t reach an agreement. In this situation, the goal will be to find an outcome that’s in the best interests of the children.

What if You Need to Change Your Parenting Plan?

Changes to parenting plans can be made. Minor changes can usually be navigated without an attorney: for example, if both parties want to change the pickup time from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., both parties can agree to the change in writing and you are good to go.

Where problems can arise is when one parent wants to make a more significant change, which is known as a modification, and the other one doesn’t. In this case, the parent seeking the modification needs to prove an ‘unexpected, substantial change in circumstances’ has occurred since the original order was issued, and that the change being requested is in the best interests of the children.

Questions? Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney

Every divorce and associated parenting plan / timeshare schedule is different. Even when you’re facing an uncontested divorce and agree on how parenting time should be shared, a Florida family lawyer can help you plan for the future more effectively and ensure that your rights as a parent are respected. To schedule a consultation about your legal needs during your divorce, call Heather Bryan Law, P.A., at (863) 825-5309.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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