Florida has recently revamped its child custody laws, moving away from the traditional idea of primary residential custody. The 2008 revisions to the law emphasizes a friendlier approach to child custody and timesharing, with both parties creating a parenting plan that promotes everybody’s interests.
We invite you to contact us by telephone at 561‑961-4665 or via e‑mail to schedule a confidential consultation with attorney Andrew Smith about parenting plans and child custody. We also offer a low-cost initial consultation.
Protecting Your Right to Share Time with your Children
When you and your spouse establish a parenting plan, you are deciding who is responsible for providing the day‑to‑day needs of the children, and on what days. Both parents typically share legal custody (called parental responsibility) in Florida, so both can make decisions about the children’s school, health care and religious training.
The ideal parenting plan is flexible, yet fair. If it is well written, it will serve the best interests of your family for a long time to come. Attorney Andrew Smith spends a great deal of time with clients to make sure they understand how divorce and child custody laws affect them and their individual situations.
In creating a parenting plan, you are outlining a time‑sharing schedule for both parents, which should include the following:
- Observing holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays
- Upcoming school vacations, summer breaks and scheduled social activities
- Agreed‑upon times for picking up and dropping off
- Methods of communication between the children and the parents
- Methods of communication between the parents to consult upon and discuss child‑related issues
- Which parent’s address will be used for school district purposes
Since both parents usually share legal custody, it is helpful to include provisions regarding access to medical records in the parenting plan, as well as school records and access to the children’s teachers.
Order through the Court
If both parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will establish one for you based on the evidence at trial. The court does not know your children as well as you do, so the inability to settle these issues outside of the courtroom gives the parties less of control over creating a customized plan that reflects the family’s lifestyle and unique preferences.
Attorney Andrew M. Smith can advise you on time sharing strategies that reduce the need for future modification. For seasoned counsel on parenting plans, contact Mr. Smith.
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