The document that establishes the time-sharing schedule for parents and children is called a Parenting Plan. It truly is one of the most important documents in a dissolution of marriage involving minor children because it is the document that sets the schedule and delineates the parents responsibilities toward the children. It’s important to take some time to think about what is best for you and your children when drafting or addressing the Parenting Plan with your lawyer so that the end outcome is a schedule and a plan you can easily follow and adhere to.
A Parenting Plan is required for all cases involving time-sharing with children, even when time-sharing is not in dispute between the parties. You can still exercise your autonomy by working together with the other parent to create the best schedule for the family. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, then the court will make a decision after hearing proposals from both parents.
During the holidays many find themselves griping over the interpretation of a Parenting Plan that did not clearly spell out what the time-sharing schedule would be. This highlights why the parents should not only consider the needs and best interest of the children, but also the parents’ needs and ability to make the schedule work when planning the schedule. It is also very important that the terms of any schedule are clear and simple so that everyone understands when time-sharing starts and ends. At a minimum, a parenting plan must describe in adequate detail:
- How the parties will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the children;
- The schedule arrangements that specify the time that the children will spend with each parent,
- A designation of who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school-related matters; and
- The methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the children.
The Florida Supreme Court has a sample form. The terms of this form are not absolute as the parties can come to an agreement as to what works best for their particular situation.
Divorce and family law issues can be complex. For information on how Givens Givens Sparks can assist you with your divorce and family law matters contact one of our attorneys.
Victoria Cruz-Garcia | Principle Attorney
Givens Givens Sparks