Parenting Plans: Keeping the Focus on the Child

Parenting Plans are legally required for all contested and uncontested divorce cases in Florida involving minor children. This document is a guideline developed and agreed upon by both parents to address parental responsibilities. When the parents cannot agree on a plan, the court decides custody and timesharing arrangements, with or without recommendations by the parents.

What is Included?

A Parenting Plan must prioritize the best interests of the child. At a minimum, it includes how the parents will share in the daily tasks of a child’s upbringing and a schedule of the time a minor child will spend with each parent. It designates the parent responsible for managing health care, school-related matters, other activities, and associated costs. In addition, it describes how the parents will communicate with each other and the child. The plan should further address conflict resolution methods for disputes between the parents.

The Law Office of Alison M. Lopes Creates Parenting Plans that Work

One of the most contentious matters between divorcing couples is the custody and timesharing of their children. Meeting each parent’s needs can be challenging. At the Law Office of Alison M. Lopes, we have years of experience assisting parents with Parenting Plan agreements. We are committed to finding solutions to child custody and timesharing issues. We strongly advocate and protect our client’s parental rights when disputes arise.

Florida courts recognize the importance of both parents remaining active in a child’s life. The preference is for each parent to maintain a relationship and have equal access to their child. However, there are limitations on custody and timesharing rights for parents under certain circumstances. For example, the court may determine a parent unfit due to a history of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, or incarceration. Consequently, the court may order supervised visits. In extreme cases, the court may terminate the parental rights of an unfit parent.

There are four types of Parenting Plans in Florida:

  • The Basic Plan is designed for parents who agree with most aspects of shared responsibility, with no history of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, or substance abuse. The parents reside no more than fifty miles from each other.
  • The Long-Distance Plan is for parents who meet the above criteria; however, they plan to live more than fifty miles from each other.
  • The Highly Structured Plan contains strict rules for decision-making and timesharing to prevent conflict. It is for parents that strongly disagree on shared responsibility and timesharing. However, there is no history of domestic abuse, child abuse, neglect, or substance abuse.
  • The Safety-Focused Plan prioritizes the child’s safety. It is for children at risk due to the parents having issues such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and criminal activity.

Either Parent Can File for a Modification of the Parenting Plan Under the Following Circumstances:

  • A child’s safety is at risk
  • A child would benefit significantly from a modification
  • A parent’s circumstances have changed, so they cannot meet their current responsibilities.

Let Us Help You Navigate the Florida Parenting Plan Process

At the Law Office of Alison M. Lopes, we understand that every family is unique. We create Parenting Plans to reflect your goals and what is best for you and your child. Schedule a consultation with an experienced and caring family law attorney in Orlando, Florida. Contact us at 407-442-2724.

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