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Should parents create a parenting plan together?

It's the current Floridian policy to make sure that children maintain contact between both parents after the parents separate or get a divorce. Parents are encouraged to work together to make this happen and to continue to raise their child in an amicable manner. It's in the child's best interests, in most cases, to have continuing contact with his or her parents.

In some cases, it's true that continued contact may not be in the best interests of the child. In these cases, the court has the right to order sole parental responsibility. You need to show that having to share parental responsibilities would be a negative influence on your child's life. For instance, if your ex-partner has joined a hate group, you could argue that the situation at his or her home is not conducive to raising a child.

In the majority of cases, both parents have a reason and responsibility to be in their children's lives. It's important for parents to be able to work together to come up with a parenting plan that works for their situation. If they can't, a court can order a plan, but it's usually better if the parties can come to a resolution that they both agree with on their own.

When making a parenting plan, remember that you need to show where your child will be each day of the year. You need to determine who makes decisions related to your child's health, schooling and other factors. Good communication is key, so if you and your ex struggle to communicate, you may want to consider counseling or mediation to begin to work through your personal struggles.

Source: Florida Bar, "Parenting Plan Considerations," accessed Jan. 23, 2018

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