Understanding Parenting Plans in Florida

Parenting Plans LawyerParenting plans are governed by Florida Statute § 61.046 (14).  A parenting plan is a document which establishes how parents make decisions about their minor children.  The plan also includes a time-sharing schedule for each of the parents and their minor children.  Relevant topic areas covered by Florida parenting plans include:

  • The child’s education;
  • Health care for the child; and
  • Issues governing the child’s physical, emotional, and social well-being.

The parenting plan includes details about how the parents will share and divide parenting responsibilities.

For example, the parenting plan addresses whether one person makes health care decisions for the children or whether this is a shared decision.  Similarly, issues related to the children’s schooling, from who attends parent teacher conferences, to who is authorized to grant field trip permissions, to which school the child will attend, must be addressed in the parenting plan.

Understanding Parenting Plans and Time-Sharing Schedules

A time-sharing schedule is just one part of a parenting plan.  The time-sharing schedule documents the details of how much time, and when, a child spends time with each parent.  This schedule includes details such as daytime and nighttime schedules, as well as holiday schedules.

The Court will generally allow parents to choose a time-sharing schedule with their children, that fits the needs of their particular schedule and, most importantly, is in the best interest of their children. Some parents will agree on a time-sharing schedule where their children spend one week with one parent and the next week with the other parent.  Other parents may choose a schedule where their children spend one weekend with one parent and the next weekend with the other parent.  Then, during the week, the children primarily live with one parent while they attend school, or divide the nights, where one parent has Monday and Tuesday night and the other parent has Wednesday and Thursday nights. Additionally, parents generally divide and alternate holiday time-sharing and summer time-sharing equally.  There are many different options for parents in creating a time-sharing schedule with their children.  It is important to seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney when crafting a time-sharing agreement between parents.

Developing a Parenting Plan

In most cases, the parents, with the help of their attorneys, develop a parenting plan and submit it for approval by the Court.  When the parents cannot agree on an appropriate parenting plan and time-sharing schedule, the courts will create a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children,based upon the evidence and testimony presented at a contested hearing. 

If You or Your Spouse are Seeking a Divorce

If you or your spouse are seeking a divorce, and you have children in common, a parenting plan is an essential part of your path forward.  Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has the experience you need to create a parenting plan that is in the best interest of your children and meets the particular requirements of your family.  Contact us today at 561-655-8844 to discuss your family’s unique situation.

Additional Reading

Tips for Working Through Time Sharing and Child Visitation Challenges

Child Custody and Religion During a Divorce

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