A parenting plan, also called a custodial agreement, is the primary document two parents use to determine how to split time with their children after a divorce. Parenting plans outline the expectations and responsibilities each parent has regarding raising their children and any decisions regarding their care. Here are the top elements that should be discussed and included in a parenting plan.
Type of Custody
In Florida, parents are automatically given legal custody of their children, meaning they both have the right to make decisions about their child’s welfare and upbringing. In addition, parents must establish whether they will have sole or joint custody of their children. Sole custody is when a child spends most of their time with one parent, while the other parent may be entitled to visitation rights. Joint custody, on the other hand, is when both parents split time with the child at regularly scheduled intervals.
If you have joint custody, you will need to create a time-sharing schedule that details when, how often, and how long the child will split time with each parent. Parents are not required to follow a particular schedule and can create their own based on work and personal commitments. However, if you and your ex-partner cannot agree on a parenting plan, a judge may assign one based on the Standard Parenting Time Plans detailed in Florida Statute 409.25633.
Custody Arrangements for Holidays and Celebrations
In addition to the time-sharing schedule, parents will want to specify how they plan to share time on holidays and other celebrations such as birthdays. Some parents may choose to spend alternating holidays with their children, while others may split up time on each holiday, so both parents get to spend time with the child.
Responsibilities for School-Related Meetings, Events, and Extracurricular Activities
Parents should include expectations and responsibilities pertaining to school-related events and meetings. If a child is sick and needs to leave school, who will be in charge of picking the child up? How will parents handle the costs of school tuition or extracurricular activities? If the child attends public school, you will need to declare a designation of residence to determine which school district the child will attend.
The more specific a parenting plan is, the more successful it will be. This includes addressing communication with a child during the other parent’s custodial time, such as what types of communication are allowed and how often.
If providing your children with a specific type of religious or cultural education is important to you, you will want to specify your desires in your parenting plan. It is vital to be upfront and clear about the terms of this section.
If both parents share physical and legal custody of the child, you will want to ensure you are given access to your child’s medical, school, and law enforcement records whenever necessary. You should include which records you wish to access in your parenting plan. This section is also where you should specify who will be listed as the child’s emergency contact.
Child Support and Financial Responsibilities
This section should be highly detailed and clear about each parent’s financial responsibilities regarding caring for the child. Include who will pay child support, the amount, and how often payments will be made. You can also discuss other child-related costs, such as school tuition, activities, and healthcare insurance.
Remsen Family Law Firm: Lake County Family and Divorce Lawyer
Remsen Family Law Firm is dedicated to helping families in Lake County and Central Florida with custody arrangements, parenting plans, and child support. Call our office at 352-309-0970 for an initial consultation.