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Parenting Plans

Before a divorce can be finalized for parents with a minor or dependent child, a Parenting Plan must be created to govern the time sharing and parental responsibility agreements between the parents. The Parenting Plan will transcribe in specific detail the rights, responsibilities, time sharing schedule, and decision making ability for each parent. Parenting Plans are designed to anticipate any issues that could arise with the child and avoid any future conflicts between the parents. Parents are encouraged to agree to and formulate their own Parenting Plan. However, if the parents cannot agree to a Parenting Plan or if the court will not approve their plan, a Parenting Plan will be created by the court.

Parents are encouraged to agree to and formulate their own Parenting Plan. 

At a Minimum, What Must a Parenting Plan Include?

  1. How the parties will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child(ren). ?
  2. The time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child(ren) will spend with each parent. ?
  3. A designation of who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school-related matters, including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration, other activities.
  4. The methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child(ren).

Fla. Stat. § 61.13(2)(b)).

What Does a Normal Parenting Plan Typically Include?

  1. Parents- The plan must include the name, address, phone number, and email of each parent.
  2. Children- The plan must include the name and birthday of all children born to or adopted by the parties.
  3. Parental Responsibility- The plan will dictate whether the parents should have shared parental responsibility over every major decision, whether one parent should have final decision making ability if the parents are unable to come to a decision, or whether one parent should have the authority to make every major decision for the child.
  4. Extra-curricular Activities- The plan will dictate whether either parent may register the child(ren) for extra-curricular activities or whether the parents must mutually agree on all extra curricular activities. Additionally, the plan will state whether the parent with the child(ren) will transport them from all mutually agreed upon activities. Lastly, the plan will state what percentage of costs each parent will pay for extra curricular activities and equipment.
  5. School Calendar- The plan will include the date on which both parents should obtain a copy of the upcoming year’s school calendar. Additionally, the plan will dictate which child, county, or school’s calendar to follow.
  6. Schedule Changes-The plan may include the date by which a parent requesting a change to their time sharing is required to make. Additionally, a plan may dictate whether the parent requesting a change of schedule will be responsible for any additional child care, or transportation costs caused by the change. 
  7. Time Sharing Schedule-The plan will dictate the time sharing agreement for both parents in specific detail for weekdays and weekends. Additionally, the plan will transcribe in yearly detail which holidays the child(ren) will spend with each parent. Furthermore, the plan will transcribe the time sharing schedule for the child(ren)’s winter, summer, and spring breaks. It will detail whether one parent will have the child(ren) for the entire break, whether the child(ren) will split time between parents, or if the normal time sharing schedule will continue as usual. Lastly, the plan will list the number of nights each parent will have with the child(ren) per year.
  8. Transportation- The plan will transcribe whether only one parent shall provide all transportation, whether the parent beginning their time sharing shall provide transportation, or whether the parent ending their time sharing shall provide transportation for the child(ren). Additionally, the plan dictates what percentage of transportation costs each parent will pay.
  9. Exchange of Child(ren)- The plan will explain that both parents shall have the child(ren) ready on time with sufficient clothes packed and at the agreed upon time of exchange. The plan dictates that if a parent is late past a certain minute limitation without contacting the other parent to make other arrangement, the parent with the child(ren) may proceed with other plans and activities. Additionally, the plan shall describe where the exchange shall take place.
  10. Foreign and Out of State Travel-The plan will lay out whether either parent may travel within the U.S. with the child(ren) during their time sharing and how many days notice prior to the trip, the parent will be required to give notice. Additionally, the plan will detail whether either parent may travel out of the country with the child(ren) during their time sharing and how many days prior to traveling they will be required to provide a detailed itinerary of the trip to the other parent.
  11. Education-The plan will transcribe which parent’s address shall be designated for school boundary determination. If applicable, the plan will detail any other provisions regarding private or home schooling.
  12. Designation for Other Legal Purposes-The plan will list which parent the child(ren) will spend the majority of their time with.
  13. Communication-The plan will dictate the means by which parents shall communicate with each other. Additionally, the plan will transcribe the means and frequency by which the child(ren) may contact the other parent outside their time sharing.
  14. Child Care-The plan will dictate whether each parent may select child care providers, whether child care providers must be agreed upon by both parents, or whether each parent must offer the other parent the opportunity to care for the child(ren).
  15. Other Provisions-Parents or the court can list other provisions to the parenting plan, not already stated. 

Your parenting plan will govern your post divorce relationship with your children. From child custody to visitation to decision making, the parenting plan is a critically important document. When negotiating and thinking through a parenting plan, it would be wise to consult an Orlando or Tampa divorce laywer to make sure you and your children are covered. 

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