Parenting Plans in Florida
When a divorcing couple has minor children, Florida law requires the parents to file a parenting plan, Form 12.995(a), with the court. This document elaborates in great detail, the rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding time spent with their children. In some instances, the parents can agree between themselves on all the provisions of the parenting plan and submit it to the court as a finished document. Many divorced couples, however, disagree strongly about certain matters related to how to raise their children. When divorce cases involve extensive litigation, very often issues related to child custody and visitation are a major point of contention.
When the parents have a fundamental disagreement about one or more items on the parenting plan, it is up to the judge to make a decision, with which the parents must comply. Florida courts always consider the best interest of the children when making any decisions related to child custody and visitation. When an item on the parenting plan is in dispute, each parent must convince the court that his or her preferred arrangement is in the children’s best interest.
What a Florida Parenting Plan Includes
The parenting plan attempts to resolve any conflict that might arise regarding the children’s upbringing before the conflict starts. It specifies which parent or parents may make decisions relating to the children’s education and non-emergency medical care. It contains provisions about whether each parent may enroll the children in extracurricular activities. The parenting plan also requires the parent (or the court) to specify whether one parent may choose a babysitter or daycare provider for the children without the other parent’s approval.
Perhaps the parenting plan is at its most detailed when it comes to how much time the children spend with each parent. One item on the document asks how many nights per year the children are to spend with each parent. It also gives parents the opportunity to state formally that the children are to spend a certain amount of time each year with a grandparent or other relative. Since holiday visitation can be such a source of disagreement, the parenting plan requires the parents to decide how much time children will spend with each parent during each winter, spring, and summer break.
What a Florida Parenting Plan Does Not Include
Form 12.995(a) assumes that the parents live within 50 miles of each other and that they will continue to reside in that same 50-mile radius. Therefore, it does not contain provisions for what will happen if one parent moves more than 50 miles away. When the custodial parent moves far away, he or she must first get the court’s approval. Then the parents must file a long distance parenting plan, Form 12.995(c). Parenting plans also do not contain information about child support.
Contact Bundza & Rodriguez with Questions About Florida Parenting Plans
If need assistance crafting a parenting plan or have other family law issues in Daytona Beach, we can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez for the professional assistance you need.