What To Include In Parenting Plans


Children benefit from maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents after a divorce or separation. Florida’s family law recognizes this reality. As a result, child custody (now called “parental responsibility”) is rarely an all-or-nothing proposition. Shared parental responsibility is generally the preferred outcome, unless there are special circumstances that would warrant sole parental responsibility.

Shared parental responsibility — what used to be called joint custody — gives both parents a say in important decisions in their children’s lives. It also gives both parents the right to spend time with the children. The specifics of the time-sharing custody arrangement — and whether the time is split equally — depend on your family’s circumstances and, ultimately, on the children’s best interests.

The arrangement must be formalized in a parenting plan. This plan addresses key issues such as:

  • A parenting schedule for sharing physical child custody
  • Allocation of holidays, birthdays and other important events
  • School and extracurricular activities
  • Expectations surrounding communication
  • Child care arrangements
  • Travel

Essentially, the parenting plan serves as a blueprint for both parents’ involvement in the children’s lives going forward.

Reaching A Workable Resolution

So how do you establish a workable time-sharing arrangement? Many families achieve an optimal outcome by negotiating a plan through mediation or out-of-court settlement. Because you know your children better than anyone else, you are in a far better position to make those decisions than a judge, who has only a limited window into your lives.

In some cases, however, reaching an agreement just isn’t possible. These situations often require court involvement, which, in turn, calls for the advocacy of an experienced family law attorney.

Get Individualized Guidance

At Winter Spires & Associates, P.A., we understand the unsurpassable importance of your relationship with your children. Our goal is to help you work out a time-sharing arrangement that’s best for your situation. Lawyer Winter Spires takes a highly individualized approach to custody matters, and she excels at identifying opportunities for win-win resolutions.

Discuss next steps for navigating custody matters by calling 850-502-2241. We have convenient offices in Destin and Marianna.

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