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When Parenting Plans Stipulate That a Third Party Can Transport the Children from One Parent to the Other


Florida parenting plans are wonderfully versatile.  Parents have the freedom to divide the 365 days of parenting time in a year however they please.  Also customizable are issues of decision making and transportation.  For example, you can specify that Dad will visit the baby from 9:00 a.m. to noon, seven days per week.  Likewise, you can specify that your 17-year-old daughter will drive herself and her 14-year-old brother from school to Dad’s house on Friday evening and then to Mom’s house on Sunday evening.  You can even allot child-rearing time and certain decisions to people other than the parents.  For example, you can specify that the children will visit Mom’s parents for a week every summer, and these seven days are not part of Mom’s parenting time.  Just as parenting plans offer myriad solutions, the disputes that can arise in relation to them are many, but a South Florida child custody lawyer can help you resolve them.

Details of the Godwin Case

The parenting plan that Chad Godwin and Stephanie Festa included in their marital settlement agreement elaborated the couple’s wishes about transportation in detail.  It specified that whichever parent was currently having parenting time “or his/her designee” had the responsibility to transport the children to the other parent at the end of their parenting time.  This means that, for example, if Mom is unavailable to drive the children to Dad’s house, she can have her sister drive them, or she can have a neighbor drive them, but she cannot ask Dad to pick them up or propose that the parents meet up in the parking lot of a centrally located Burger King to hand off the children.)  Furthermore, whichever parent was currently having parenting time “or his/her designee” was responsible for transporting the children to medical appointments or extracurricular activities that took place during his/her parenting time.

Chad’s girlfriend would sometimes transport the children to medical appointments.  Stephanie was upset that the girlfriend stayed in the examining room during their daughter’s doctor appointment; she claimed that the girlfriend’s presence violated medical privacy laws.  She filed a motion to hold Chad in contempt over this matter; she acknowledged that, if Chad had remarried, it would be unreasonable to exclude a stepparent from a child’s medical appointment, but the presence of a girlfriend in the examining room was a violation of the parenting plan.  The trial court held Chad in contempt, but the appeals court reversed the decision.

Divorce Apps Are a Thing

Another interesting detail of this case is that the parenting plan specified that the parents must use a divorce app called Our Family Wizard to communicate.  This app keeps a record of text message conversations between ex-spouses.  It even has a “tone meter” that warns you that you are being too snarky; you can revise your message to a more civil tone before you send it.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

It is within the scope of parenting plans to specify the nature of the children’s interactions with a parent’s new partner.  Contact the Boca Raton child custody lawyers at Schwartz | White for help with your case.


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