Florida divorce law requires Parenting Plans for all divorcing couples with children starting as of October 1, 2008. Florida law has had a strong public policy about children and divorce for several decades. As Chapter § 61.13 of the Florida Statutes states:
“It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys of childrearing.”
A “Parenting plan” is a document created to govern the relationship between the parties relating to the decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and shall contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being.
In creating the parenting plan, all circumstances between the parties, including the parties’ historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration. The parenting plan shall be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by a court or, if the parents cannot agree, established by the court.
While some individuals think that Florida requires 50/50 time sharing to be issued in any case, the statute does not state this language. However, the goal in any case is for the children to benefit from shared parental responsibility, unless shared responsibility is detrimental to the child. The goal is to keep both parents involved in the life of the child.
Shared parental responsibility means that both parents discuss and decide major decisions affecting the child. These are the decisions that have long-term consequences in your child’s life. Some examples involve the choice of:
Some additional decision-making areas to consider in your parenting plan include:
Parents may want to divide up the areas, each taking responsibility for certain ones. Some parents prefer to meet and discuss all issues together and reach a joint decision. Others may allow one parent to make the decisions and inform the other parent.
There are no set rules for shared decision making, but the new law requires a description of how the parents will share the daily tasks of child upbringing and time sharing with each parent. It must also describe who is responsible for health care, school matters and activities and what communication methods the parents will use to contact the children.
At the Law Offices of Alyssa D. Honickman, we take pride in drafting our agreements and parenting plans and always place the best interests of the children at the heart of each case.