In any divorce that involves minor children, the well being of the children is often the primary concern of both parties. Attorney Sandy T. Fox is an experienced Miami family law lawyer who is also a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital & Family Law. Mr. Fox understands the challenges and nuances of the marriage dissolution process, and strives to help his clients ensure that the lives of any children involved remain as stable as possible during a divorce.Parenting Plans, Time-Sharing Agreements, and Parental Responsibility
It used to be the case that, after a divorce, the terms “custody” and “visitation” were used to describe the parents’ roles in relation to their children. However, these terms focused more on who had physical custody of the children, and not as much on who made important day-to-day decisions that affected the child’s life. Recently, Florida lawmakers decided to get rid of those outdated terms and create a more collaborative and comprehensive model for determining parental responsibilities. Hence the terms “parenting plan,” “time sharing,” and “parental responsibilities.”
A parenting plan is a document that details the rights and responsibilities of both parents in relation to their children. The plan is comprehensive and covers all matters related to the couple’s children, including when the children will be with each parent and who will make important decisions that affect the children and their futures.
In the parenting plan, the parents can determine whether to implement “sole parental responsibility” or “shared parental responsibility.” These terms refer to who has primary decision-making power over the children’s big-picture decisions, such as medical care, education, and extra-curricular activities. In a shared parental responsibility agreement, both parties will have some control over these important decisions.
In addition to outlining parental responsibilities, the parenting plan will include a time-sharing agreement. The time-sharing agreement is a comprehensive scheduling document that includes all holidays, summer and winter breaks, and overnight stays. It is a binding document that allows each parent to know when they will be spending time with their children.
Ideally, the parenting plan and time-sharing agreement are collaborative documents that are the product of negotiation, compromise, and agreed-upon terms and conditions. However, that is not the case in all situations. If the parties cannot come up with a parenting plan among themselves, the court will create one that will bind both parties moving forward. The court will consider the best interests of the child when creating a parenting plan, and will include considerations such as:
- Both parents’ fitness to raise the child;
- The child’s age;
- The parent currently primarily responsible for the child’s upbringing; and
- The child’s preferences.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida and you have minor children, contact Attorney Sandy T. Fox immediately to ensure that your children benefit from a thorough and well-crafted parenting plan. Mr. Fox is an experienced South Florida family law attorney who is certified as a specialist in Marital & Family Law by the Florida Bar Board. Take steps to make sure that you and your children are treated fairly throughout the marriage dissolution process. Set up your confidential consultation with the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. by calling 800.596.0579, or contact us online.