If you are going through a divorce, you will find that when children are involved, the development of a parenting plan is one of the most challenging aspects you will face. A parenting plan includes details specifying the time that children are entitled to spend with each parent. It also describes how the mother and father will “co-parent” and continue to raise their children. Florida requires the parents of minor children to develop and agree to a parenting plan in all divorce cases.
Putting together a good workable plan that is in the best interest of the children and one that will likely be accepted by the courts, requires the guidance of experienced family law attorneys. Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC, the premier family law firm in Clearwater, Florida, works specifically with families to formulate creative, but realistic solutions for parenting plans in today’s busy and complex society. We know how important it is that your children receive the best possible upbringing as they adjust to the new type of family structure and we will always work with you toward that goal. Our attorneys provide the expertise to counsel you through this essential part of your divorce, understanding that every parenting situation is unique with its own set of challenges, and its own set of viable solutions.
All parenting plans must be designed first and foremost with the children’s best interest in mind, detailing how parents will share the time and responsibilities. When the parenting plan is agreed upon by both parties and accepted by the court, it becomes a legal document and part of the divorce.
There are many aspects that must be addressed in a parenting plan. The plan will include details pertaining to:
- “Parental Responsibility”
Parental responsibility refers to the authority that each parent will have with regard to decisions about their children’s education, health care, religious instruction, discipline, extra-curricular activities, and various other facets of their upbringing. In shared parental responsibility, both parents make these types of decisions about the children. The responsibilities can be divided between the parents, or one parent can have responsibility over specific areas. Shared parental responsibility is generally preferred by the courts unless it is determined that it is not in the children’s best interest. Sole parental responsibility is when one parent has been granted the right to make all decisions and does not have to consult with the other parent. The court will only order sole parental responsibility if it has concluded that it is the best solution for the children.
Time-sharing refers to the amount of time each parent spends with the children and when that time will occur. Time-sharing will specify the parental schedule and very importantly, state the acceptable methods and technology that each parent will use to communicate with the children. It is generally believed that unless it has been determined that it is not in the best interest of the children, each child should have frequent, continuing contact and a positive relationship with both parents. Your parenting plan should reflect that as its goal. Parents should be prepared with an amiable process for resolving other issues such as holidays that are not specified in the parenting plan, vacation time, and any unexpected situations that may affect a time-sharing schedule.
Do I Need to Put Together My Children’s Parenting Plan?
Absolutely. The parenting plan is very important to you and to your children’s well-being. We will review your family situation, discuss the factors that affect the best interests of your children, and explain your rights and responsibilities. With our expertise you can put together an effective parenting plan so you can play the most appropriate and loving role in your children’s lives!