Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Florida Child Custody: Developing Parenting Plans For Toddlers


Co-parenting a toddler after a Florida divorce certainly carries its challenges, but it is understandable that both want to be fully involved with raising the child. From 18 months to 3 years old, children undergo rapid emotional, physical, and mental development, and you do not want to miss a thing. However, even when parents are on the same page with some aspects of child custody, creating a parenting plan in accordance with Florida law can be overwhelming. In addition to working out busy schedules, you must also address the needs of a toddler who is becoming more independent and trying to make sense of the world.

While there may be special factors to consider, it is possible to develop a parenting plan that works for your toddler’s needs and is practical for parents. Working with a Dade City child custody lawyer ensures a smooth negotiations process and an arrangement that complies with the law, but some points are helpful.

  1. Understand Your Child: Before you get down to planning, there are a few unique characteristics when raising a toddler. Most parents are aware of these factor, but a reminder is important when addressing child custody issues: 
  • Toddlers need predictable, consistent schedules and a defined routine.
  • Young children develop strong emotional attachments to caregivers, so the parenting plan should be give serious consideration to this factor.
  • When positive relationships with parents established prior to separation the continuation of the attachment enhances developmental outcomes.
  • Infants need quality and quantity of time with each parent in his or her home.
  • Children can attach to both mothers and fathers.
  • There is almost no empirical data showing negative impact on infants and toddlers from overnighting in two homes.
  • The studies that have found specific signs of negative impact from overnighting in two homes have been widely criticized as poorly designed and poorly analyzed.
  • Social scientists who have reviewed the research on this topic note that ultimately, the success of any custody arrangement depends on several factors, including: quality of parenting, history of attachment, proximity of parents.
  • Toddlers are sensitive to tension between parents. 
  1. Ease the Transitions: Change is uncertainty to a young child, so the transitions between the two parents’ homes should be as seamless as possible. One helpful tip is to have one parent drop the child off, rather than having the parent exercising visitation doing a pickup. Toddlers may view this as a parent “taking them away” from a safe, secure space.
  1. Unique Factors for the Custody Schedule: Unlike older children that adjust well to alternating weeks with each parent, parenting time may need to be shorter. Some child behavior specialists suggest no more than 2 to 3 days at each parent’s house. Toddlers need frequent engagement and stimulation with both parents. 
  1. Maintain Frequent Contact in the Interim: While one parent exercises parenting time, it is important that the other has access to the child. A smart strategy is using Zoom or other online video conferencing, so your toddler can see and hear the other parent.

Helpful Guidance from a Florida Child Custody Attorney

Legal assistance is critical when you are developing and negotiating a parenting plan for your child at any age. For more information on how child custody works in Florida, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can set up a consultation at our Dade City office by calling 352-567-0055 or visiting us online. After learning more about your story, we can discuss specific concepts.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn