Law Office of Daniel E. Forrest, P.A.

A parenting plan is a blueprint for the resolution of challenges that parents and their children may face prior to, during and following a dissolution of a marriage. Florida law changed the way that parenting issues are governed in divorce proceedings in 2008, and the biggest change is the requirement that a parenting plan be developed for every child involved in an action for dissolution of a marriage.

In a parenting plan, the details for how parents intend to share the daily duties of raising their child are addressed. Time-sharing agendas and issues such as how each parent communicates with the child and which parent will hold responsibility for education-related matters are also planned. The more cooperative the parents are with each other in developing a parenting plan, the easier the divorce process becomes.

However, a court still has to consider several factors to determine the child's best interests before approving a parenting plan. If mature enough, the preference of the child is a factor. Other considerations include the community, home and school record of the child, how long he or she has resided in a satisfactory and stable environment; and whether geographic issues are present. The mental, physical and moral fitness of each parent and their disposition and capacity to promote a continued and close relationship between each other and their child are factors as well.

Divorcing parents often work together to discuss the matters that need to be included in their parenting plan based on their family circumstances. However, not all parents are able to cooperate with each other to create a parenting plan. When there is disagreement, the parents may seek the assistance of separately-retained lawyers to negotiate the plan's details. If this is unsuccessful, the court will create a plan based on the best interests of the child.

Source: The Florida Bar , "Children and Divorce ", October 14, 2014

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