Crafting Parenting Plans in Florida Divorces

When a married couple divorces, there are a number of contentious issues that will need sorting out. If the couple has had children together, working out a new co-parenting relationship is often the hardest part of the divorce.

Co-parenting after a divorce involves much more than just devising a custody and visitation schedule. In the most successful arrangements, co-parents work out agreements on all aspects of child-rearing, from things as simple as deciding who will pay for health insurance and school expenses to complicated issues like deciding whether the children will be raised in a particular faith tradition.

To help achieve this goal, Florida law requires all divorcing parents to enter into a court-approved parenting plan. In most cases, parents will create this plan with the help of their respective divorce attorneys.

No two parenting plans are exactly the same, since each is crafted to the unique needs of the family who creates it. However, most Florida parenting plans fall into one of four main categories:

  • Basic parenting plans: The basic parenting plan is best suited for divorcing couples who are able to work together without a significant amount of conflict. It is not necessary for the parents to agree on everything, but they should at least be able to communicate respectfully.
  • Long distance parenting plans: A long distance plan is appropriate for cases where the parents plan to live more than 50 miles away from each other. Long distance plans can account for the special considerations that present themselves when children need to travel to visit a parent.
  • Safety focused parenting plans: As the name implies, these plans are for situations where there is genuine concern about whether the children will be safe in a parent's custody. Safety focused plans can be used in situations where there is a history of abuse, addiction, anger management problems or mental health issues.
  • Highly structured parenting plans: Highly structured plans are best for situations where the parents have significant trust issues or communication problems. Highly structured plans can help parents manage conflict while insulating their children from turmoil as much as possible.

Even though it can be hard to work with an ex-spouse after all the stress of a divorce, coming to a co-parenting agreement can do wonders for kids' well-being. If you are going through a divorce, your family law attorney can help you develop the parenting plan that is best for your family.