On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Getting divorced when you have children can be tough. You do not get to drive off into the sunset and never see each other again. A written parenting plan can reduce the stress of arguments and continuing negotiation by designing a plan for key parenting issues. Some states, including Florida, require submitting a written plan to the court.
Time with the child
Any parenting plan should include a detailed description of how the children’s time will be divided between the parents. In most cases, there is a lot of leeway for parents to figure out schedules that work best for them as well as for the children. To avoid unnecessary friction, it is best to be as specific as possible and to include additional provisions for the handling of emergencies or changes in plans. A fair division typically includes a more-or-less even proportion of minor and major holidays and school vacations with each parent.
Relocation can be another sticky issue. While many states have laws addressing parents moving away from the area, the last thing many divorced parents want to do is go to court yet again. Coming to an agreement about moving away and clearly stating it in the parenting plan can save a lot of headaches down the road.
In many cases, one parent will be handling the bulk of the information regarding the children’s day-to-day activities. This can include health, schoolwork, extracurricular activities, records and more. Even if there is one person who is primarily responsible, in most cases it makes sense to provide for the regular and timely sharing of this information with the other parent.
Raising children involves making a large number of decisions, both minor and major. Divorced parents may have a hard time coming to an agreement about who has the authority to make decisions. Your parenting plan should contain guidelines for the various types of decisions and whether they can be made by one parent or by consultation only. Many parents choose to leave minor decisions to whichever parent has the child when it comes up and to consult together on major decisions such as health care, education and religion.
Each family has its own unique circumstances. In addition to these major elements, your parenting plan should address any other issues of concern. In order for the plan to perform its function as a roadmap that will eliminate disagreements and misunderstandings, it should be written clearly and specifically. A knowledgeable attorney can help you come up with an effective plan that will be in the best interest of your children.