Part of reaching a final divorce agreement is squaring away child custody and visitation. These two issues may prove stressful if you do not know all that goes into figuring them out.
Child custody and visitation go hand in hand. Legal custody designates who will make final decisions, such as education and medical care for the children. You and your spouse may split legal custody unless the court determines it is not a good idea. However, physical custody becomes more challenging since it includes when children will visit each of you. Under Florida law, timesharing forms the basis of a parenting plan.
What is a parenting plan?
The court requires you to construct a framework that sets out a schedule of how you will divide time with your children. The schedule needs to take various factors into account:
- The age of the children
- Where custody swaps occur
- Special events, such as birthday
- School breaks
A parenting plan memorializes the schedule as well as other items. For instance, if there are exceptions to the schedule, how will you and the other parent handle it? The parenting plan should also detail other agreements you and the other parent make, including bedtimes and dietary restrictions.
Will a judge order a parenting plan?
The goal of a parenting plan is to give you a blueprint for how you want to share your children. You and your spouse should try and construct one that works for your family. During a divorce, you may tend to overcommit to timesharing and then not have the time to follow through. Absent an agreement, a judge decides the plan. This may prove unfavorable for many reasons.
Maintaining control over your family unit should remain at the forefront of your mind during divorce.