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What Do I Need to Include in a Parenting Plan?


When parents in Orlando are separating or getting divorced, one of the most anxiety-inducing issues is child custody. Parents often worry that they will not be able to spend as much time with their children, and that they will not be able to play as significant a role in their child’s life. Generally speaking, Florida courts want to make sure that both parents continue to be involved in their children’s lives despite a breakup or a divorce, and courts begin from the presumption that parents should both have time-sharing unless there are reasons to believe that shared parenting would be detrimental to the child. In cases where there are such concerns, the court will look at evidence to determine whether both parents should actually have shared parenting.

Assuming both parents should in fact share parenting responsibilities and time-sharing, they should know that they can play a large role in determining what that shared parenting looks like. Indeed, under Florida law, parents can work together (or through their attorneys) to develop what is known as a “parenting plan.” If parents can agree on parenting and time-sharing responsibilities and schedules, the court can approve that parenting plan and it can have the effect of a court order. However, the parenting plan must contain specific elements. The following information explains what you need to include in a parenting plan in order to have it approved by the court.

Elements of a Florida Parenting Plan 

According to Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes, your parenting plan must include all of the following:

  • Details about how the parents will share daily tasks that are associated with the child’s upbringing;
  • Specific time-sharing arrangements that clarify what time the child will spend with each parent;
  • Designations about which parent will be responsible for health care, school matters, and other activities; and
  • Details concerning the methods and technology each parent will use to remain in communication with the child.

A parenting plan is required to give either parent the ability to consent to the child’s mental health treatment in situations where the parents are sharing responsibilities concerning the child’s health care.

Using the Best Interests of the Child Standard 

In order for a court in Orlando to approve a parenting plan, the parents must make shared parenting and time-sharing arrangements that are in the best interests of the child. This is the same standard the court uses in situations where the parents cannot reach an agreement for a parenting plan and the court must make a determination about parenting and time-sharing arrangements. The “best interests of the child” standard is also what the court will use to decide whether a modification to an existing parenting plan or child custody order is appropriate when one of the parents seeks a modification. 

Contact an Orlando Child Custody Attorney 

If you have questions or need assistance developing a parenting plan that complies with Florida law, one of the dedicated Orlando child custody & time sharing lawyers at our firm can speak with you today and can begin working on your case. Contact Anderson & Ferrin to learn more about how we can assist you with your divorce and child custody case.


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