What is a Parenting Plan in a Florida Divorce?

Perhaps the most important aspect of a Florida divorce is the creation and implementation of a parenting plan.  In a Florida divorce, a parenting plan should encompass all aspects and conditions that involve the parties' minor children.  These areas include the designation of parental responsibility rights of the parents, the implementation of the timesharing schedule between the minor children and the parents, and other miscellaneous items concerning the welfare and future of the parties' minor children.  Typically the child support obligation of the divorce is not included in the parenting plan but rather the parties' marital settlement agreement.

Reaching these terms and conditions can be established in two primary ways.  Either the parties through the assistance of a Tampa divorce attorney can establish the parenting plan via their divorce settlement, or in cases where the parties are unable to reach an amicable agreement a judge will establish their respective rights in regard to the minor children by way of a court ordered parenting plan, which is contained in a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.  Once the Parties have reached, memorialized, and entered into a parenting plan the terms and conditions become binding on the parties and are subject to the enforcement powers of the court.  Similarly, in the event the parties are unable to come to terms on a parenting plan and the court has entered an order, that order concerning the minor children is subject to future enforcement by the court.

In an effort to help the resolution process and help the parties enter into a parenting plan many parties to a divorce use the assistance of mediation.  Additionally, in some uncontested divorce cases the parties are able to reach the terms and conditions regarding parental responsibility and timesharing with their children before filing for divorce and only need the assistance of the divorce attorney to properly draft the parenting plan and ensure that the terms are memorialized in the agreement.  In any event, because the conditions of your settlement regarding your minor children are of the upmost importance and will have a lasting affect, your Tampa divorce attorney should be skilled in the areas of not only negotiating, but drafting the parenting plan agreement.