Parenting Plans and Child Custody


Parenting Plans are required in Florida when a minor child is involved.

Parenting Plans

Yesterday, I had a client come in to my office for a consultation. The client told me that she wants “full custody” of her children. This is not an unusual discussion. I have to explain that Florida does not use the term “child custody”, instead Florida Statutes require all divorce and paternity cases to include Parenting Plans when there are minor children.

The Parenting Plan involves both parents, and it provides a structure for parenting, keeping the best interests of the children and the family circumstances in mind. The Parenting Plan details what time the children will enjoy with each parent, and it describes in detail how and when the children will be exchanged.

It also explains how the parents will contact the children, how the parents share important information, and how they will discuss important decisions jointly. It outlines the methods for parents to communicate about activities, happenings, and other special events, and provide ways for parents to spend additional time with children on top of the regular time-sharing schedule.

Children do not belong in the middle of their parent’s dispute. A well-crafted Parenting Plan can help to avoid future conflicts by deciding on alternative methods to settle any future disputes about common parenting issues.

Interested in learning more about emotions during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?” If you have questions about parenting plans, contact me online, call my toll free number: 877-687-1392, or call my local number: 239-210-7516.

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark


Where Is Child Custody in Florida Headed?


Equal time sharing concept regarding child custody in Florida may be included in future bills.

Child Custody in Florida

Over the last few months, a lot of attention had been given to an alimony bill that was passed by both the Florida House and Senate and ultimately vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. Somewhat lost within the discussion, however, were proposed changes that would have affected parenting time, commonly referred to as “child custody”.

Florida Statute 61.13 provides the laws related to parenting and time sharing. It has been the standard that the Judge is to consider the best interests of the children, that the children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, and that there is no presumption that the children spend more time with either the mother or father. In the most recent proposal, the Florida Legislature added the language, “Equal time sharing with a minor child by both parents is in the best interest of the child.” It then goes on to list some circumstances that equal time sharing would not be in the best interest of the child.

Although Governor Scott vetoed the bill, I don’t believe the concept of presuming equal time sharing is best is dead. It appears that Governor Scott vetoed the bill for reasons unrelated to the equal time sharing proposal. There are a lot of people who are in favor of the equal time sharing presumption, and I have seen more and more Judges leaning that way over the past 10 years.

The arguments in favor of equal time sharing include:

  • Reduction of litigation over “custody”
  • It builds on the existing standard that children should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents
  • It highlights the importance of both parents being involved in the children’s lives
  • It discourages using “custody” as a strategy to reduce child support

I predict that the Legislature will include the equal time sharing concept again in future bills, and the Judges will continue to consider it more frequently.

Interested in learning more about emotions during a divorce, read my free e-book, “Does Every Divorce Need a Shark?”

If you have questions about child custody in Florida, contact me online, call my toll free number: 877-687-1392, or call my local number: 239-210-7516.

Does Every Divorce Need a Shark