Fort Lauderdale Parenting Plan Attorney
Responsive and Personable Legal Support for You and Your Child
At GFC Law, we seek to provide parents with responsive and personable legal support as they negotiate their parenting plan discussions. The firm understands that parenting plans can have lasting impacts on your child and your relationship with them, so we will do our best to help you negotiate a parenting plan that addresses both your and your child’s best interests.
What Does a Parenting Plan Establish?
In addition to a custody negotiation, parents with minor children will also likely need to discuss a parenting plan to continue to maintain parent-child relationships. Parents can either agree on a plan between themselves or defer to a court order. It is critical that a parenting plan is thoroughly detailed and includes all required scheduling information to ensure a streamlined, effective plan. In general, all plans should at least outline how:
- parental rights, responsibilities, and child care tasks will be shared;
- decisions about education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, religious participation, travel, and discipline will be shared;
- expenses related to education, medical and dental care, and child care will be divided;
- time-sharing will be divided, including a specific schedule;
- transportation and child exchanges will work;
- parents will communicate with each other;
- children will communicate with the other parent during time-sharing (visitation);
- changes to the plan and schedules will be handled;
- conflicts related to the parenting plan and parenting time will be resolved.
Four Types of Parenting Plans
In Florida, parents can follow four different guides to drafting their parenting plan, depending on their particular situation. Parents can create a “basic plan” if they:
- agree on most aspects of shared responsibility and time-sharing;
- communicate well;
- do not have a history of domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse;
- do not plan to live more than 50 miles from each other.
Alternatively, parents can pursue a “long distance” plan if they meet the first three requirements as listed above but plan to live more than 50 miles from each other. Note that the long distance plan, sometimes referred to as the relocation plan, requires additional details about how the children will commute between both parents’ homes and should also address how children will communicate with one parent while residing with the other.
The “highly structured” plan may be a viable option if both parents:
- struggle to agree on shared responsibility and time-sharing;
- are unlikely to communicate civilly with each other;
- do not have a history of domestic abuse, child abuse, or substance abuse.
The highly structured plan is mostly sought after in high-conflict cases with frequent disagreement, and it is typically negotiated between parents while a mediator or their lawyers are present. The plan will set out specific rules for decision-making and time-sharing to prevent potential future conflict, and it can also lay out default decisions for when parents cannot agree. While parents may not be amicable in a highly structure plan, they should be willing to cooperate. In some cases, a highly structured plan can be combined with a long distance plan if the parents live more than 50 miles away from each other.
Lastly, the “safety-focused” plan may be appropriate if the children or parents are at risk of dangerous issues like domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, or criminal activity. This fourth plan prioritizes children's physical safety while still attempting to maintain the parent-child relationship. In such a situation, the parent who poses a risk may receive either unsupervised time-sharing with no overnight visits or supervised visitation only. In extreme situations, a Florida court may deny the parent any visitation at all if doing so is in the child’s best interests. If parents live more than 50 miles away, the safety-focused plan can be combined with a long distance plan and a highly structured plan, if appropriate.
Let GFC Law Help You Negotiate Your Parenting Plan
If you are negotiating a parenting plan with your former spouse, consult an experienced parenting plan attorney for professional guidance. Florida law establishes specific points a parenting plan should address, and it also has four templates available for parents to utilize depending on their circumstances. As a result, it is best to speak with a lawyer like Attorney Gary F. Celetti, Jr. to better outline the terms you seek to lay out in the parenting plan. A parenting plan can have serious consequences on your and your child’s future, so it is imperative that you work with Attorney Celetti to ensure both your and your child’s interests are being appropriately addressed.