When parents’ divorce or stop living together, each must answer questions about child custody, or as it is called in Florida, “parental responsibility.” Divorce or separation can be challenging for children and difficult for the parents involved. How parents resolve their differences affects the children and the family. In Florida, divorcing parents are required to submit a parenting plan to the courts to outline how decisions regarding your children’s education, health care, and well-being will be handled. The document will also outline a parenting schedule and time-sharing plan to ensure that children enjoy time with both parents. Only in rare instances will the courts deny a parent the right to see his or her children. Of course, in cases of domestic violence or criminal charges, considerations may have to be made. Because it can be very difficult to change a parenting plan once it has been approved by a judge, it is important that you draft a plan that works, is durable, and that all parties can compromise on. Having a child custody attorney working for you as you make these critical decisions can make all the difference in the world. If you and your former partner have child custody questions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, King Lindsey, P.A. can help.
If you are getting divorced or if you live apart from your former partner and have children, you and your ex will be required to submit a parenting plan to the court. What things must the parenting plan include? The state of Florida is very specific about some of the things the parenting plan must include such as:
A time-sharing schedule that outlines when and where each parent will spend time with the children. Holidays, special occasions, and weekends should be considered.
How parental responsibility will be divided. Who will be responsible for caring for the children’s daily tasks and upbringing.
How decision-making rights will be allocated. For example, who will make decisions about the children’s schooling, health care, and other matters. Which household will be used to determine where the children can attend school.
How parents will communicate with one another regarding any questions and concerns that will arise.
An experienced child custody lawyer will help you to consider other aspects as well, like how you and your ex will resolve disagreements should they arise. Parents can also outline certain guidelines regarding decision-making. For example, sometimes parents may agree in the parenting plan about certain major decisions like which school the child will attend, which church the child will attend, and which doctors the children will see. Every family is unique. At King Lindsey, P.A. we can assist you with drafting a parenting plan that will be accepted by the courts, that will also protect the rights and interests of your children and your family.
What Matters Should You Consider When Drafting a Parenting Plan?
Many factors must be considered by parents facing child custody questions. Here are some common matters that should be considered as you work to resolve disagreements and develop a parenting plan:
School: Both parents have a right to be involved in their children’s education. Provisions should be made that will ensure that both parents can be involved in children’s school activities. Both parents should also have the right to contact the child’s teachers. Transportation to and from school and to and from both parents’ houses should also be considered.
Scheduling: Life can get busy and complicated even when two parents live in the same house. When determining a time-sharing schedule that works for your family, it is important to set guidelines about when each parent will have the children and to ensure that events aren’t scheduled for the children during these times. Transportation to and from each home should also be discussed.
Plan Ways to Avoid Conflict and Minimize Loss: A parenting plan needs to consider the needs of the children. Children who live in divided or newly divided households often face immense feelings of loss. A parenting plan should allow children to have time with both parents and continued contact with extended family. Parents should aim to be co-parents to their children, supporting the children’s emotional, social, academic, and spiritual growth.
Consider the Age of the Children: Younger children will have different needs than adolescents. Older children may benefit from having an active role in developing the parenting plan. Younger children need stability, security, and routine. Your parenting plan should take into account the developmental needs of your children.
No two parenting plans that determine child custody matters will be alike. Every family has its own unique needs and challenges. If you’re in the process of working out a child custody arrangement with your former spouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, King Lindsey, P.A. can help. A child custody attorney can help you draft a parenting plan that works for your family.
Child Custody Disputes
If you and your former spouse cannot agree on certain crucial aspects of your parenting plan, your case may have to go to court. While taking a child custody dispute to court is often discouraged, because the judge may make a decision that neither party wants, sometimes parents cannot agree and the case must go to trial. King Lindsey, P.A. are child custody lawyers Fort Lauderdale, FL who will work with you to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. We strive to help couples resolve their differences either through out-of-court mediation or negotiation. However, if your child custody dispute must go to court, our child custody attorneys are here and ready to fight for the best interests of your children every step of the way.