Making It Work
With the divorce so close to being finalized, one of the tasks remaining is to hammer out the custody arrangement. It can often be difficult and contentious to try and work out an arrangement without someone else getting upset by a proposal. However, with the help of an attorney and by following these tips, you can create a parenting plan that works for all parties involved and benefits the needs of the child.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is a document that outlines all time-sharing in a custody case, and this document is used regardless of whether or not parents are fighting over timesharing. A parenting plan can be put together one of two ways:
The parents themselves can work together to come to a solution and present the results to the court for approval.
If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then the court will decide timesharing for them.
When putting together a parenting plan, it is important to understand the required elements that must be present in the agreement. The Florida Courts mandate that each parenting plan must include details on the following items:
How each parent will participate in activities necessary for the child’s upbringing and how they will share those responsibilities.
The time-sharing schedule that details when the child will spend time with each parent.
A list of who will be responsible for healthcare, school-related issues, and more.
The technology used by each parent to communicate with the child.
Above all else, a parenting plan must meet the best interest of the child. This is the number one determining factor in all custody-related items.
Tips for Successful Planning
While this might sound like a headache at first, there are things you can do to make the process go a bit smoother, especially if you would like to avoid the court deciding your parenting plan for you.
Be as Specific and as Clear as Possible
The language you use in your parenting plan can make a big difference in the final outcome. In order to avoid any potential gray areas, it is important to use language that is as clear and specific as possible. Doing so can avoid ambiguity later on in the process or down the road when the custody agreement is in place.
For example, it can be very helpful to include elements of travel in your parenting plan. If you want to take your child on a vacation sometime, having details in your plan can make your trip much easier to plan compared to having nothing in your agreement.
Include All Required Elements
While this might sound like an obvious statement, it is important to carefully consider every detail as required by Florida law in your parenting plan discussions. Failure to include everything necessary may result in more time spent trying to rework the document, which can incur additional problems or costs.
Include Additional Items
It can be helpful to include items that aren’t required by Florida law. Having something written down about items such as holidays, weekends, vacations, school functions, and even drop-off and pick-up times can make your life a bit easier once the agreement is in place.
Be Willing to Talk
While you and your spouse might not be on the best of terms during a divorce, it is important to come together and work through a solution on this issue. What is best for your child should be your primary focus during this time. Being unwilling to compromise on anything only hinders your progress in putting together a plan to benefit your child.
Life happens, which means things can change on a whim without anyone knowing in advance. This is okay! When working on a parenting plan, it is important to keep this fact in mind and choose to be willing to be flexible if something happens.
Use an Ocala Family Law Attorney
Above all else, it is critical that you enlist the help of a family law attorney to help you craft this parenting plan. Their expertise is necessary to ensure that all necessary components of the parenting plan are in place and that you, their client, are happy with the results. At Anne E. Raduns, PA, we know that determining custody issues can be a real challenge at times, which is why we want to take that burden off of you. We are available to help you put a plan into place that works for you and benefits your child.
To get started, call us at (352) 310-8235 or visit us online.