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Parenting Plans

When it comes to child custody or welfare issues, there are many complicated steps, forms and requirements imposed on the parents by the State of Florida.  While all of these things are enacted in order to protect the best interests of the child, for parents involved in the child custody process, it can seem like a maze of paperwork and red tape.  Parenting plans are one part of the child custody process that needs parent's particular attention.

What is a Parenting Plan?

In Florida, any time there is time-sharing involved in a child custody arrangement, the parents must fill complete and file a parenting plan with the court.  Time-sharing refers to any custody arrangement where the child will not be living entirely with one or the other parent.

All parenting plans must be approved by the court.  If the parties can't agree on a parenting plan, the court may also draft one based on the best interests of the child and the circumstances of the particular custody arrangement.  It is typically in the parties' best interest to agree to a parenting plan ahead of time.

What Must Be Included in Our Florida Parenting Plan?

There are certain minimum requirements that must be included in any parenting plan filed in Florida.  The parenting plan must clearly lay out the specifics of the time sharing agreement, or where and when the child will be spending their time.  The parenting plan should also spell out which parent is responsible for which daily activities of the child, such as their routine meals and after school activities.

The parenting plan should also identify who will be responsible for the health and educational decisions for the child.  When it comes to education, the plan must give details such as school registration address and boundaries for school districts.  The parenting plan must also set out how the child will be communicating with the other parents, such as by which technologies and when are they allowed to access them.  These are the minimum requirements for a parenting plan in Florida, however these documents can contain additional details if the parties desire and the court approves.

How Do I File a Parenting Plan in Florida?

There are several technical requirements to filing a parent plan in Florida.  The basics, however are that the plan must be typed in black ink and filed with the clerk of the court.  Unless you are self-represented, all petitions or pleadings, including the parenting plan, must be filed electronically.  There are also various timing requirements for filing a petition or counter petition and setting a trial time and date, if one is needed.

Do I need a Lawyer to Prepare my Florida Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan will make up the cornerstone of any time-sharing custody arrangement.  A parenting plan will lay out your rights and responsibilities when it comes to custody, in addition to those of your co-parent.  An experienced attorney, like those at the Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A., can help you navigate the complex child custody process.

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