Parenting Plan Template: How to Create a Florida Parenting Plan


Discover our comprehensive guide on creating a Florida Parenting Plan template. Ideal for parents navigating custody arrangements, this post provides tips for drafting a parenting plan that prioritizes your child’s well-being and supports a harmonious co-parenting relationship.

Divorce is generally seen as a litigation process involving dismantling or breaking apart a relationship. For many, the phrase “working together” doesn’t seem to jive with the term “divorce.” Thankfully, more and more people opt for a collaborative divorce, focusing on working together to craft two separate lives fairly. Even for those parents who cannot have a collaborative divorce, working together for the sake of the children will be necessary for ensuring the best possible transition into a timesharing custody agreement.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a legal agreement that details the time-sharing responsibilities of parents for minor children. It is required by Florida law for all custody cases that include time-sharing. A parenting plan spells out when a parent will be responsible for a child and what those responsibilities include. In addition, parenting plans also help determine who will be responsible for medical care, extracurricular activities, holidays, and more. A Tampa child custody attorney can assist you with creating your plan, learning how to survive divorce during the holidays, and working with your soon-to-be ex to help ensure that your children’s best interests are being met.

Do I Need a Parenting Plan in Florida?

If you plan on maintaining a time-sharing custody agreement after your divorce, you must create a parenting plan with your ex-spouse. Failure to create an adequate parenting plan that both parties can agree to will lead to the court creating one for you. No one wants to have a third party exert this kind of control over their lives. Furthermore, violations can end with parenting plan contempt of court.

It is always best for those who know the children—their parents—to work together to craft parenting plans that meet their needs and the needs of both parents moving forward.

Thankfully, this isn’t something you have to do alone. Your Tampa child custody attorney can work with you to help you brainstorm all the different scenarios in which child custody and parental responsibilities must be detailed.

How to Write a Parenting Plan

Writing a parenting plan in Florida requires careful consideration and a focus on the child’s best interests, especially if the goal is to avoid a contentious divorce. The plan should begin with a clear outline of living arrangements, custody schedules, and visitation rights, ensuring that they reflect the child’s needs and the practicalities of each parent’s situation. This includes detailed schedules for weekdays, weekends, holidays, and school breaks.

Establishing guidelines for decision-making is crucial, particularly in areas like education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. For parents learning how to co-parent with the ex effectively, the plan should encourage open and respectful communication, detailing how and how often parents will communicate about the child’s well-being. This can include agreed-upon methods of communication, such as emails or co-parenting apps, and guidelines for respectful, constructive exchanges.

In situations where co-parenting might be challenging due to high conflict or communication difficulties, parallel parenting can be an effective alternative. This approach allows each parent to make day-to-day decisions for the child during their respective parenting time, minimizing direct interaction between the parents.

The parenting plan should clearly delineate the responsibilities and boundaries of each parent, reducing the need for ongoing communication and potential conflicts. This approach is particularly beneficial in avoiding a contentious divorce as it helps keep interactions focused and business-like. The plan should also include provisions for handling disputes, preferably through mediation or counseling, to avoid escalating conflicts.

By focusing on the child’s well-being and maintaining a cooperative spirit, parents in Florida can create a parenting plan that supports a healthy environment for the child, regardless of the parents’ relationship.

What to Include in a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan covers all the day-to-day minutiae of raising a child. While some parenting plans can be relatively straightforward, others may require some wrangling to implement the perfect plan. A parenting plan must cover any health care issues, who will be responsible for decision making, responsibilities towards extracurricular activities, a time-sharing schedule, a holiday schedule, the exchange or drop off, and more. It’s a lot to cover in one document and may take a lot of negotiation and forethought in order to craft an appropriate plan.

It may also require amendment through the years as the number of children covered under the agreement grows. A Tampa court order modification lawyer can help with this.

How Can I Work With My Soon-To-Be Ex to Make a Parenting Plan?

When working on a parenting plan, it’s important to be realistic, honest, and thorough. Knowing your limitations as a parent, an individual, and a future co-parent can help you create a reliable and comfortable plan for everyone. Remember, the goal is to provide your children with two safe environments to feel at home and grow.

For this to work best, it takes two people devoted to their children and requires them to set aside personal anger, anxiety, or other negative emotions in order to place the children front and center. While working on a parenting plan won’t resolve the other issues, it illustrates your and your ex-spouse’s commitment to ensuring a safe space for your children.

Working with a Tampa collaborative divorce attorney who understands how to help you craft a parenting plan that works for everyone. Such an attorney can provide a framework and give you prompts to think about before beginning an agreement so you can fully consider the impact of a parenting plan.

The importance of working together to create a parenting plan cannot be understated. Parents who fail to compromise or plan may find the court planning for them. It is always better for the people who best know the children—the parents—to collaborate on their future upbringing than to allow the court to do it for them. While it isn’t easy, it is certainly worth it.

Your Tampa child custody attorney can help you craft a parenting plan that considers your and your children’s needs. They can help you work together with your ex to create the most suitable plan for your children. The expertise and experience of a skilled Tampa child custody attorney can ease what can be a difficult process and help you through a difficult time.

Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today

As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739  to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.