The Role Of A Parenting Plan In A Florida Divorce
There are some divorces in which both spouses can agree on the major issues without having to go to court. While parties will still require a judicial order on most issues as the divorce is finalized, a couple that decides issues like asset division, for example using a pre or postnuptial agreement, can have a less stressful divorce. Divorcing parents may have the ability to negotiate and agree on some issues that affect their children, however, some issues are left to the court under Florida law.
Parenting plans that outline the roles and responsibilities of each parent after the divorce are required under Florida law. Parents have to make their parenting plan agreements as clear and detailed as possible. These kinds of agreements work best if parents are clear about their expectations and anticipate various scenarios that may come up during their co-parenting relationship, as well as how they would be handled.
Parents outline their time-sharing schedules, including holiday schedules, and a child’s extracurricular activities. Parents can also make arrangements for what would happen if a parent was unable to pick up the children at an agreed time, and whether the parents have the first chance at taking the children before a babysitter is called. Which parent will make medical or religious decisions can also be included in the parenting plan.
Even after the parents come up with a parenting plan, it has to be approved by a court, and the court has to consider how the relationship between the children and the parents will be facilitated under the agreement. Additionally, the parenting plan will be reviewed to ensure that the children’s best needs will be served by the parenting plan before being approved and entered as a court order.
The Florida Supreme Court has provided parenting plan forms that can be used if a couple cannot come up with a plan on their own. A final parenting plan developed as a result of a parent filling out this form still has to be reviewed and approved by a court.
There are still some issues that parents cannot decide by agreement, and whether child support will be paid after the divorce is one such issue. Parents cannot decide that no child support will be paid by one parent to another after the divorce. Both parents are required to provide financial support to their child and are obligated to do so; this obligation cannot be taken away by agreement. When child support is ordered, it is calculated using guidelines based on the law.
Seeking modifications once a parenting plan is approved by a court is not always easy, and there may be a period of time after the initial order is entered that a parent seeking modifications has to wait before beginning the process.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce in which children are involved, it is important to make sure that you take special care resolving the issues related to your children. For more information on how you can work out a parenting plan with your spouse as you are going through a divorce, contact our experienced child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida.