Divorce is heavy on anyone, let alone a minor child. Thus, Florida courts require divorcing parents to be there for their child by forming a parenting plan. The agreement must reflect their parental responsibilities and outline how their co-parenting arrangements cater to the child’s unique needs.
Although family circumstances vary, knowing the minimum information set by the state can help parents establish a common ground and avoid future disputes.
What should a parenting plan include?
Soon-to-be ex-couples can look at a parenting plan as a roadmap that guides them on how to raise their child in two separate households.
While every child has different developmental demands depending on their age, the following are basic details every parenting plan must have:
- A description of the day-to-day tasks related to the child’s upbringing
- A time-sharing schedule specifying precise times each parent will spend with the child
- A designation of who will handle concerns associated with the child’s health care, school and other relevant activities
- An account of methods and tools that both parties will use to communicate with the child
These foundational elements can still expand. For example, aside from daily routines, such as when to eat, play or sleep, parents can also discuss including disciplinary rules regarding homework and screen time. Further, time-sharing considerations can elaborate on conditions during vacations, holidays and special occasions.
Why does a thorough parenting plan matter?
A detailed parenting plan reduces the risk of minor disagreements escalating into full-blown conflicts. The more exhaustive they are, the better that parents can anticipate tensions and develop workable solutions. Doing so can also save them from going to court, which often consumes time, money and emotional stability. However, parenting plans, especially in high-conflict cases that involve allegations of abuse, violence or neglect, can quickly become complicated. Thus, parents must work with a legal team who can reassure and show them that favorable outcomes are possible.