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The Purpose of a Parenting Plan in Florida


In Florida, a parenting plan is the document that determines the custodial agreement between two parents. During a Florida divorce with children, the courts will expect the parents to present a parenting plan to the court for review. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then the courts will decide the matter for them. This is also true for parents who have a child out of wedlock. The Florida courts encourage parents to reach an agreement on their own through mediation. The mediator will help the parents decide on visitation schedules and matters related to custody. In this article, the Tampa child custody attorneys at Westchase Law, P.A. will discuss the various elements to include in your parenting plan.

The purpose of a Florida parenting plan 

Parenting plans are created to meet the needs of an individual child. The plan must be approved by the court. Parents will need to cooperate with one another to determine key issues related to custody such as where the child will go to school, matters related to their medical care, and the child’s religious upbringing. The parents will also need to hammer out a visitation schedule to determine when each parent will spend time with the child.

A good parenting plan will anticipate problems that may come up and devise solutions to how those problems are handled. This is to avoid conflict. A parenting plan may not be able to anticipate every problem that arises, but it can provide a roadmap for navigating these issues.

If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan or present a parenting plan that the court does not approve, then the courts will have to step in and create a parenting plan for them. It is always in the best interests of the parents to reach an agreement together.

When reviewing a parenting plan, Florida courts will consider the following elements:

  • Can each parent maintain a close emotional relationship with the child?
  • Can each parent determine the specific needs of the child and address those needs?
  • How close do the parents live to the child?
  • Can each parent provide the child with a stable home life?
  • Are the parents in good mental and physical health?
  • Is there any evidence of abuse or neglect of the child?
  • What are the educational and developmental needs of the child?
  • Are there any other circumstances that impact the well-being of the child?

A Florida parenting plan must include all of the following:

  • A statement deciding how each parent will divide parenting responsibilities
  • A detailed visitation schedule that determines when the child will spend time with each parent
  • A determination on who has the power to make healthcare and school-related decisions
  • How each parent will communicate with the child (telephone or digital medium)

Talk to a Tampa, FL Child Custody Lawyer Today 

The Tampa family lawyers at Westchase Law, P.A. represent the interests of parents who are attempting to create a parenting plan. We can help guide you through the process and create a parenting plan that addresses all of your child’s needs. Call today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your next steps immediately.

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