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Do you know what to include in a parenting plan?

Florida courts require you and your spouse to enter into a parenting plan before granting your divorce. The document is the basis for how you want to raise your children in separate households.

There are some elements the court requires you to account for in your parenting plan and others you may want to consider documenting.

What is the time-sharing schedule?

At the core of a parenting plan is the schedule for who will have physical custody or parenting time with the children. Depending on the details of your arrangement with your spouse, this section may give a basic week-on, week-off schedule, or you may want to go into more detail. You must account for vacations, summer breaks and holiday deviations in this part of your plan.

Who decides what?

Your legal custody situation may dictate who gets to make decisions on behalf of the children. Your parenting plan should reinforce which one of you has the final say in making medical and educational choices. Often, if parents split legal custody, the plan will indicate that parents will make these decisions when exercising parenting time with the children.

Who gets the kids if you cannot?

Sometimes your schedule does not align with when you have the kids. Your parenting plan should address schedule deviations and consider a right of first refusal clause. This means that when one parent cannot exercise parenting time on his or her date, the other parent has the first right to take the children before getting a grandparent or babysitter.

You could include other agreements in your parenting plan beyond the required elements. The judge prefers you work in conjunction with your partner to formulate the plan that works better for your children.