A divorce or separation from someone you share a child with brings many challenges. You must learn to co-parent and raise your child while you are no longer together.
Legally, this is done through a parenting plan. This is a document that details terms regarding custody, visitation and parental responsibility. Both legal custody and time-sharing are addressed in a parenting plan.
Legal custody involves making decisions for your child on major issues such as education, religion and health care. Time-sharing is which parent the child lives with and when.
A court decides the terms of a parenting plan based on the best interests of the child. There are several factors the court considers when deciding what is in your child’s best interest.
One important factor
It is important to know that like many states, Florida courts start with the assumption that it is in a child’s best interest to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Therefore, if you would like something other than a shared parenting-time schedule, you will need to prove why this is not in your child’s best interest.
There may be many reasons why you believe shared parenting-time is not the best. Perhaps your co-parent works odd hours, making it difficult for them to spend half of the time with your child.
Some reasons could be more serious. A parent with a drug or alcohol addiction or with a history of domestic violence might have a harder time getting shared parenting-time.
The more details, the better
Your parenting plan should be as detailed as possible to prevent future questions or problems. The time-sharing schedule should address how summers, vacations and holidays will be handled, how exchanges will occur and how you and your co-parent will communicate.
You and your co-parent can agree on the terms of your parenting plan. If you cannot agree, a court will decide the terms at a custody trial.