If you are a parent in Florida who is getting a divorce, you will probably need to agree on a plan for custody and visitation. However, co-parenting is about much more than following a schedule. You might want to consider creating a comprehensive parenting plan that attempts to anticipate and address issues that may arise.
Why specifics are important
While it is important for parents to avoid too much rigidity in the plan, detailing how to handle various aspects of parenting can do a great deal to smooth the way for co-parenting after the divorce. There are a number of reasons this is important.
Children may adjust better after a divorce if there is less conflict between their parents. Family law courts generally do not want to be in a situation in which they must resolve every difficulty between divorced parents, and trips back to the courtroom should usually only occur for serious matters, such as those that require modifying the custody agreement.
Parenting plans can also include a way to resolve conflict. For example, parents may agree to attend mediation if they cannot resolve an issue.
What to include
In the parenting plan itself, parents can address everything from bedtimes and homework rules to how they will handle their children driving or staying with friends. Many parents want to include a provision about how they will deal with new partners, including when children will be introduced to them.
Parenting plans should also make provisions for holidays and vacations if this is not addressed in the custody agreement. Parents may find it valuable to include an agreement about how they will communicate. For example, some parents might prefer to use software or apps designed to facilitate communication between divorced parents.
Parents might also want to consider negotiating an agreement for custody and visitation with their attorneys instead of litigation. This can often be less stressful than going to court and might leave them in a better position to co-parent effectively. Attorneys may also assist in creating the parenting plan.