Making A Parenting Plan That Works for You and Your Child
In any divorce where children are involved, the potential is high for conflicts. In the Florida court system, the notion of child custody and visitation has been replaced by parenting plans and timesharing, with the goal of encouraging and fostering close, loving relationships between the child and their parents. While it may take some getting used to any new arrangement, understanding the elements included in these plans can help you set up time sharing agreements that work for both you and your child.
Key Elements Of Parenting Plans
Under the Section 61.13(2) of the Florida State Statutes, a parenting plan should detail how responsibility will be divided between the parents on a daily basis, taking into consideration the needs and desires of the parties involved. This plan is submitted to the court to approve, deny, or modify, based on the issues involved in the case and the best interests of the child. Key elements included in a parenting plan include:
- Scheduling: In addition to weekly time sharing, arrangements for holidays, school breaks, and birthdays should be considered, as well as how the child will be picked up or dropped off before and after these visits. Consider the child’s social, academic, and recreational pursuits, and specify the level of involvement each parent will have in these activities.
- Communications: Consider the amount of time spent texting, emailing, or talking on the phone you are willing to allow your child to spend with your former spouse when they are with you, as well as how you wish to communicate with the other parent in regards to scheduling needs or changes.
- Decision Making Responsibilities: Detail how decisions will be discussed and made when it comes to the child’s education, religious upbringing, physical and emotional care, and extra-curricular activities.
- Financial Responsibilities: One of the parents may be entitled to child support payments for food, clothing and shelter. Decide on financial responsibility for medical insurance as well, in addition to who will pay costs associated with additional expenses, such as school books, field trips, recreational activities, and health care deductibles.
Tips for Successful Time Sharing
Coordinating schedules and dividing responsibilities can be a challenge, and it is not uncommon for quarrels and disputes to arise. Parents magazine recommends the following tips to help avoid conflicts in timesharing arrangements:
- When making a parenting plan, be realistic about your own scheduling needs, and allow time for the activities that are important to you;
- Make arrangements that are appropriate to your child’s age and activity level, allowing for adequate ‘down time’;
- Take advantage of technological tools, such as Google calendars and iPhone apps, that allow you to post and share important dates or scheduling and activity updates;
- Pick your battles. While you and your former spouse should make every effort to comply with your time sharing plan, be open to making adjustments as needed.
Reach Out to Our Office Today for Help
If you are contemplating a divorce and have questions about parenting plans or timesharing arrangements, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC today. Our experienced Florida family law attorney provides the professional legal representation you need to protect your rights and interests, and can assist you in developing a plan that meets both you and your child’s needs.