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What Is a Highly Structured Parenting Plan, and Do You Need One?


If you go to a divorce lawyer, fearing that you might get stuck paying alimony to your ex-spouse for the rest of your life, you will be pleasantly surprised to find out that Florida acknowledges six types of alimony, and only one of them is permanent.  Even better, if it is possible for your ex-spouse to return to the workforce and for the court to divide your marital assets in a way that your ex-spouse no longer needs supplemental income from you, then you might not have to pay alimony at all.  When it comes to parenting plans, though, “none of the above” is not an option.  If you have minor children, the court will not finalize your divorce without issuing a court-ordered parenting plan based on one of Florida’s four parenting plan templates.  The good news is that none of these is permanent; you are not legally obligated to co-parent with your ex-spouse for the rest of your life.  Parenting plans automatically end within a year of your youngest child graduating from high school.  A Boca Raton child custody lawyer can help you choose the most appropriate parenting plan template and draft an individualized parenting plan.

The Four Types of Parenting Plans in Florida

You can fill in the details of your parenting plan, including scheduling and transportation, according to your family’s individual needs and preferences.  As a starting point, you should choose one of four parenting plan templates:

  • Basic – The parents live near each other and can communicate reasonably well about coparenting. At no point in the year does one parent go more than two weeks without seeing the children.
  • Long Distance – The parents live more than 50 miles apart. Therefore, the children travel from one parent to the other at less frequent intervals.  The parenting plan includes schedules for phone calls with each parent during the other’s parenting time.
  • Highly Structured – The parents live nearby, and neither parent poses a danger to the children, but the parents have a high conflict relationship and sabotage each other’s parenting efforts. The highly structured parenting plan limits direct interaction between the two parents and is focused on conflict management.
  • Safety Focused – The court has deemed one parent’s household an unsafe environment for the children because of domestic violence, substance abuse, or criminal activity. One parent has supervised parenting time, meaning that another adult, as indicated in the parenting plan, must be present during the “unsafe” parent’s parenting time.  The supervising adult is usually an extended family member.

If You Need a Highly Structured Parenting Plan, You Also Need a Lawyer

If you choose a highly structured parenting plan, you can expect lack of cooperation from your ex during the drafting of the parenting plan.  A family law attorney can help you manage conflict with your ex during and after your divorce.

Contact Schwartz | White About Highly Structured Parenting Plans

A South Florida family law attorney can help you put your children first if you have a contentious co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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