In Florida, courts will often approve of an order which describes how parents will share in the responsibility of taking care of their children, spending time with them, and making important decisions on their behalf following a divorce. You may have referred to this is as “joint custody” but the Florida courts refer to this shared parental responsibility as time-sharing. Whenever time-sharing is included in a family law order, the order will also include a parenting plan which describes in detail the responsibilities and rights of each parent in caring for the child and making decisions. Ideally, the parents will work together to put together a parenting plan which will then be approved by the court, but when an agreement is not reached, the court itself may formulate a parenting plan. At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A., we represent parents in creating and parenting plans and winning favorable judgments on parenting plans and time-sharing in Florida’s family law court system.
What is in a Parenting Plan?
At a high level, the parenting plan will include: 1) a weekly schedule of when the child will in the physical custody of each parent (e.g. the child will be with the mother from 6 PM Sunday to 5 PM Thursday, and with the father from 5 PM Thursday to 6 PM Sunday); as well as 2) a delegation of responsibilities between the parents regarding how important decisions will be made (e.g. the child cannot travel out of state without approval from both parents).
More specifically, the parenting plan can and should include details relating to issues such as:
- How the parents will share responsibility for tasks such as daily transportation to school
- Where the child will spend specific holidays (e.g. with which parent)
- Who is responsible for making health care decisions on behalf of the child
- Who is responsible for making educational decisions
- When communication can occur between parents and children and by what means (e.g. phone, email, etc.)
- Whether any parental time should be supervised
How Does the Court Decide Whether to Approve a Parenting Plan?
Whether you and the other spouse create your own parenting plan or the judge must create the parenting plan in whole or in part, the judge will only approve a final parenting plan if it is in the best interests of the child, which is a specific legal standard in Florida. Factors that will play into the judge’s determination whether a proposed parenting plan is in the best interests of the child include how well the parenting plan incorporates, among other factors:
- The demonstrated capability of the parents to care for the child
- The child’s current living situation and the need for stability
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The preference of the children (in some cases)
- The geographical proximity of the parents
- Evidence of domestic violence, abuse, drug and alcohol addiction within each parent’s home
As your family law team, we will work with you to create and negotiate a parenting plan and petition the court for a fair time-sharing arrangement and parenting plan that meets the needs of you and your children.
Legal Help in Your Florida Divorce Action
No matter where you are in the divorce process in Florida, from initial consideration to ongoing litigation, The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. in Miami can help. Contact our office today to set up a consultation with a trusted and caring family law attorney.
At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A., we know your relationship with your children is one of the most important aspects of your life. You want the best for them, but when you and your children’s other parent are not a couple, determining your ability to be a part of their lives – both in terms of your living arrangement and your ability to make important decisions on their behalf – becomes a matter of Florida law, and the Courts and other attorneys get involved. To make sure the rights of you and your children are protected, you need a trusted attorney on your side.
Child custody decisions are based on the court’s determination of the best interests of child. We will work to protect your relationship by making your best arguments in negotiation and at trial.
Florida law provides guidelines on how much support must be paid based on several factors. We will make sure that your financial interests and needs are fairly presented in all matters.
How We Can Help In Your Matter
Florida law regarding child custody and support can be confusing, and judges have significant discretion. But help is available. At The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A., we will guide you in the following area of family law::
Child Support Payments
Modification of Support / Custody
You are Not Alone in This
Many parents attempt to go it alone when it comes to child custody and support matters, but this approach can have disastrous consequences. Custody and support determinations generally stay in place until a child reaches age 18 – although either party may petition for modification – meaning the decisions that a judge makes can have an enormous financial and relational impact for years.
Because Florida law is complex, it is in your interest to work with a knowledgeable family law attorney. The Law Offices of Ira M. Marcus, P.A. is here to help you in any way we can.