Child Custody

Child Custody and Parenting Plans Under Florida Law

Sorting out child custody issues can be a challenging issue because while the parents each have their own intense emotions to contend with, they also have the children, and their former spouse to incorporate into their proposals.

In order to help address these conflicting interests and provide a more streamlined process for parents across the state, Florida has recently adopted a “Parenting Plan” scheme to streamline time-sharing determinations. According to these new laws, a Parenting Plan is required for ALL cases that involve time-sharing with a minor, even when time sharing is not in dispute. The goal of this change is to provide a more progressive system whereby parents carve out parenting time with each parent, rather than favoring one over the other, when possible.

The Parenting Plan contains a time-sharing schedule, and should address the issues relating to the child such as how decisions will be made regarding his or her education, health care, physical, social, and emotional well being.

The four types of Parenting Plans are:

  • Basic Parenting Plan-- This plan is intended for parents who live within 50 miles of each other, do not have a history of violent or angry encounters, drug or other type of abuse, can communicate informally, and are able to discuss decisions related to major parenting decisions
  • Long Distance Parenting Plan-- this plan is intended for parents who live more than 50 miles apart, which makes the prospect of visiting with the other parent unlikely during the week. This plan also assumes that the parents are able to engage in casual communication and decision making regarding their child(ren).
  • Safety Focused Parenting Plan-- As the name suggests, this plan is intended for use when there are concerns regarding one of the parent’s prior history of violence, abuse, or other harmful actions either towards the other parent, child, or others. Options include supervised parenting time or unsupervised parenting time with no overnight stays.
  • Highly Structured Parenting Plan-- This plan is intended for parents who have difficulty reaching parenting decisions together, communicate almost solely through formal means and by keeping written records, and generally have reservations about the other parent’s parenting style and related concerns.

Keep in mind, however, that the above listed Parenting Plans are intended to be guidelines. It probably goes without saying that determining how to structure a Parenting Plan is different for every family, and is certainly not a cookie cutter process. Additionally, the court retains its authority to make the final decisions regarding these matters, even if the parties have come to an agreement.

An experienced Florida Parenting Plan attorney can help you establish the sort of parenting time that you want with your child. Additional considerations include how parents will reach decisions regarding the minor children, how holiday breaks will be addressed, how drop offs will be handled, etc. Conflicts do arise, and you’ll want to have a plan in place in order to be able to resolve them with as little additional stress as possible.

When hiring a Parenting Plan Attorney, you’ll want to be sure that the person you entrust with issues related to your children and spending time with them is reachable for any issues that may arise, and will be sure to remain responsive to your needs throughout the entire process. Florida family law attorney Craig W. Turner works diligently to see that you are always informed of the status of your case and that you understand the importance of any major decisions you make.

If you are looking for a seasoned, zealous, dedicated attorney who knows the ins and outs of Parenting Plans and the Florida Family Law system, contact Craig W. Turner today to schedule an initial consultation. You can contact us through our online contact form on our website or by calling (352) 629-4442.

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