Custom Parenting Plan
Why is a custom parenting plan, developed for a specific case, so important for the parents and child?
In years past, actually prior to 2008, the Parent Timesharing guidelines were mandated in Florida Statutes to replace the terms “child custody” and “visitation”. Before the change, the where and with whom minor children were to reside and how much time each parent was to share with their child/ children was set up with one parent the primary parent. Even though the court did not intend for one parent to be superior to the other, it often turned out that the parent having less time with the child/children felt less important or worthy. Frequently the parent who spent less time did so from no fault of his or her own. Jobs, health, their child’s education schedule, and a variety of other reasons would dictate less time spent, not inadequacy as a parent. The term “primary custody”, though used in conjunction with the term “joint custody” still implied one parent might be superior.
Now the way the court system in Florida treats the care and nurturing of minor children who are part of dissolution of marriage (formerly termed “divorce”) is handled under the term Parental Timesharing. As the title implies, this method of deciding where children will live, with whom they will live and how much time they will have with each parent is looked at from the standpoint of sharing. Many factors are taken into consideration before a final solution is rendered. In Florida Statute 61.13 (3) there is a list of 20 considerations a judge will use to determine the final outcome. No parent will be denied time with their child unless the erring parent can be proved to be mentally, or criminally unfit or have been proven to have abused their child. This is called sole custody and is rarely used.
It is vitally important for a child to be nurtured by each parent and for the parents to work together to see their child/children have what they need for successful and healthy growth. The court admonishes each parent to work with the other parent to decide issues concerning health, discipline, religion, and education. Additionally the Florida court requires each parent to attend a state certified parenting course and present a certificate of completion before a final judgment will be handed down.
“In the best interests of the child” are the key words now used in all Florida courtrooms. Parents are expected to be willing to make whatever sacrifices, within reason, to ensure a sharing of the raising of their child/children occurs. Parents are encouraged to be civil to one another, especially in front of their child/children and not to talk unkindly about the “other parent”. While this may not always happen, it is the hope of the Florida courts that it can and does, at least most of the time.
By calling the arrangement for the care and nurturing of children involved with dissolution of marriage Parental Timesharing it is possible to then set up a plan for each individual case, keeping in mind what is best for the child and considering the needs and feeling of each parent as well. Ideally such concerns as overnights (the nights a child stays with a parent), what church they will attend, who will provide health insurance, what school the child/children will attend, among other concerns important to a particular case, will be shared. When parents are willing to put personal feelings aside and try to do what is best for their child/children the sting of there no longer being a nuclear family is lessened and the children involved can continue to fell loved and cherished by both parents.
Find out how Attorney Grant Gisondo can help you with your parenting plan needs. Call (561) 530-4568 for a free consultation.