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How to develop a parenting plan

Divorce can turn great couples into worst enemies, especially when child custody is involved. However, it’s important for your child’s development that both parents remain in their life and help them grow into a functioning adult.

To do that, you will need a plan – a parenting plan.

What is a parenting plan?

In Florida, a parenting plan is a binding document that governs the relationship between the parents pertaining to decisions to be made concerning their children. According to Florida law, the best interest of the child should be the primary concern in developing the plan.

The court factors in several aspects to define the child’s best interest including: ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs, the mental and physical health of each parent and the ability of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child.

How do we develop a parenting plan?

There are several tactics to developing a great parenting plan. One option is having each parent draft a proposal with the five required areas and compare their lists. Then, the parents can kick off negotiation.

Florida requires the parenting plan has five specific components:

  1. Overnight stays – how many will there be with each parent?
  2. Routine time – the actual time the child and parent spend together in the daily routines of caretaking and parenting
  3. Activity time – time spent together in recreational and special activities
  4. Daily decisions – decisions made in the daily routine of the child
  5. Major decisions – decisions that will influence child heavily, like religion and education

Parents could also write a “typical schedule” for the child and outline what the week would look like with each parent. It lets the parents mediate amongst themselves about what parenting separately could look like for the child.

What are your tips for writing a parenting plan?

The task is daunting for parents who disagree on child-rearing. There are a few tips to help keep the peace and write a plan that will put your child first:

  • Make the schedule as soon as possible.
  • Be reasonable about planning an arrangement.
  • Clarify any concerns about child custody.
  • Respect each other and the needs of your child.
  • Consider what your child would want – especially if they are older.
  • Use one form of communication with your former spouse.
  • Understand your state’s laws about parenting plans.

Developing a parenting plan will not be easy. However, it can be a painless transition if you work together as parents to create a plan that works for you and your child.

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