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A Florida parenting plan outlines how the parents will share decision-making and the responsibilities for raising a child after divorce. This description of how the ex-spouses will co-parent is essential. The plan should also specify the time the child or children will spend with each parent as well as state who is responsible for health care, school-related matters, and extra-curricular activities.

Parenting Plan Time-Sharing

The terms for sharing time with the child will vary and are tailored to the specifics of each case. However, there are some common schedules that are applied:

Alternating weekly exchange

The easiest plan to follow, especially when both parents have similar work schedules is to alternate weeks.

Alternating two weeks at a time

Older children adapt well to this model as they often have busier school and extracurriculars to juggle. It also helps busy professional parents allocate the heaviest work demands during an off week.

A 3-4-4-3 schedule

For a variety of reasons including work demands and the child’s need, some schedules alternate on shorter stretches of days. For this arrangement during a 2 week period, one parent  has the children for 4 days, while the other parent has them for 3 days. For the second 7-day span,  switches so the parent B gets 4 days, and Parent A has 3 days.

A 2-2-5-5 schedule

This arrangement gives parents two-day blocks, followed by each getting 5-day blocks with the kids. For example, one starts with them for 2 days, then the second gets 2 days, then back to one for 5 days, and then the other for 5 days. Then it all repeats so mark calendars carefully!

A 2-3-2 schedule

This  a one-week pattern alternating two days with parent A, three with parent B, and two back with A.   It’s a formula of 2A-3B-2A for the first week and the second week is 2B-3A-2B.

Agreeing on a Florida Parenting Plan

An ideal situation is when the divorce is uncontested, and the parents have reached an understanding before filing. This agreement on the terms of custody and time-sharing will speed up the court process. Typically, if there is full agreement on the parenting plan, the judge will ratify the plan if there are no terms conflicting with Florida law or policies.

One general policy is for courts to refrain from awarding one parent ultimate responsibility concerning the children. The preference is to allow both parents frequent and ongoing contact with the children.  It is not unusual however for one parent to be given control over specific aspects of the child’s welfare. For example, it might be impractical for decisions on education or healthcare to be shared.

Consulting with your attorney

Even when there is an amicable relationship between the parents and there is seeming agreement on all counts for your Florida parenting plan, it is smart to include your attorney in the development of the plan so that you meet all the requirements and expectations of Florida law.

Faith Brown, serving clients from her law firm in Bradenton, Florida, has practiced family law since 2005. She is trained in Collaborative Law and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. She also has extensive experience as a civil litigation attorney in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court.

If you would like to discuss your divorce plans or issues with child custody, click here to request an initial consultation.

For reference: link to the Florida Statutes pertaining to Florida Parenting Plan

This article is a service provided by Faith Z. Brown, P.A. and is not intended to serve as legal advice.