4 Important Points To Include In Your Florida Parenting Plan
Some of the most contentious disputes in a Florida divorce involve child custody and timesharing, but parents are allowed – and even encouraged – to work out the details by agreement. If they are able to reach a consensus, the Florida statute on parenting and time-sharing requires the parties address decision-making responsibilities and the basic visitation schedule. Establishing a plan for co-parenting is far more efficient than going to court for a determination; plus, an agreement is more effective in achieving your personal objectives as compared to applying strict state laws on custody and timesharing. Your family may have unique issues that require creative planning.
A detailed parenting plan is the best way to avoid disputes in the future. Parents can always agree to change the plan, but the plan is in place for those occasions when you cannot agree. Some parents discover after the fact that their parenting plan did not include certain details, and these issues are now turning into major disputes. The best way of avoiding problems is to include provisions in the areas that are prone to disagreement. Your Pasco County, FL family law attorney will advise you on the proper language, but make sure you do not overlook the following.
- Daily Decision-Making: Besides addressing major issues like education, extracurricular activities, and religion, parents must also deal with the day-to-day routine for children. Times and places of exchanges are important. Are there concerns about international travel?
- Right of First Refusal in Childcare: A common issue of contention may arise when a parent exercising timesharing, relys on a third party to handle childcare during his or her time-sharing. The other co-parent may have been ready and willing to adjust the schedule rather than have someone else watch over the child. A right of first refusal provision requires a parent to offer the opportunity to the other parent; it is only if that person declines that a third party could be called in. Many people want to avoid a right of first refusal where they want to extend that time to other family and friends or that provision can create a situation where your ex-spouse is privvy to far too much information about your life.
- Discipline and Expectations: It is also wise to include your agreement about discipline in a parenting plan, since co-parents need to be on the same page. The rules should be the same across both households, and the punishment for breaking them should be similar. The child benefits from stability, while parents benefit from maintaining a united front.
- Guidelines for Introducing New Partners: Parents often move on to dating relationships after divorce, but new partners are a sensitive topic with regards to the impact upon children. In your parenting plan, you might include a provision on the duration of the dating relationship before introducing the person to children – or a prohibition on overnight stays with a new partner.
Get Advice from an Experienced Florida Family Law Attorney
The above information should convince you that more detail is better when structuring a parenting plan, and it is better to determine issues in advance than allow them to boil over. Our Dade City family lawyers at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane are prepared to advise you, so please call 352-567-0055 or go online to set up a consultation today.