A Document Outlining Time-Sharing Arrangements
In the case of a couple with kids filing for a divorce or a separation, a parenting plan must be developed. This legally binding document outlines parental responsibilities in the wake of a divorce, including the child-rearing schedule as well as explanation of who is responsible for making important decisions about children’s health and education. The document also must include the method parents will use to communicate with children while in another parents’ residence.
A parenting plan may be developed mutually between divorcing spouses if there is general agreement between both parties regarding parental schedules and responsibilities. A family law judge may be able to help resolve points of dispute in such cases. If no common ground can be found by parents regarding the care of children after a divorce, the court can create an arrangement of its own that spouses must follow.
Considerations In Parenting Plans
Parenting plans created by family courts are developed based on what is best for the child. These document outline parenting arrangements that the court believes will most benefit the healthy physical, social and emotional development of children. A time-sharing arrangement, which represents a departure from traditional notions of custody and child visitation, is usually employed.
Many factors may go into the development of a court-created parenting plan, including:
- The parents’ demonstrated capacity to identify and meet the needs of a child
- The respective environment provided when a child is under a parent’s care
- A parent’s demonstrated interest in the life of a child, including their health, schooling, extracurricular activities and social activities
- The mental and physical health of a parent
- The safety of a child at a residence, including whether he or she is protected from violence, abuse and neglect
- Any substance abuse issues
Public policy in the state of Florida places importance on children of divorced couples spending regular, meaningful time with both parents. In the event that a court perceives a parent’s substance abuse or another issue may endanger a child, supervised time-sharing may be part of a divorce decree.
Getting Legal Help In A Divorce Case
If it is possible for parents to come to a consensus on a parenting plan, children most often benefit. Placing the establishment of the arrangement in the hands of a court can lead to circumstances that create unforeseen hardships in complying with time-sharing arrangements. Parents know children’s needs best and, if they focus on those needs, can determine the best time-sharing solutions.
It is also important to note that parenting plans can be modified by court order should considerable changes take place in the life of one of a child’s parents. For example, an arrest for domestic violence could negatively impact a person’s parenting privileges. An attorney can provide full information on conditions under which parenting plans may be amended as well as other issues concerning divorce and children.