If you and your spouse have filed for divorce in the State of FL and you have dependent children together, one of the issues you can expect to address during the divorce proceedings is child custody. While the court does encourage parents to create a parenting plan on their own that stipulates how their child’s time is going to be divided among both parents, the child custody agreement must be in the best interest of the child. When two parties are unable to agree on how they will divide up their time with their child, the court shall use several factors to create a parenting time plan both parties will be required to comply with.
With that said, if you would prefer not to have the court decide on how often you see your child and what parental rights you have, you and your spouse should definitely consult with an Orlando, FL divorce lawyer who can help the two of you work together to create an acceptable parenting time plan the court will approve of. When creating a parenting plan, there are several things that must be discussed and agreed upon. To help you create your parenting plan, below are a few guidelines you might consider following.
Please keep in mind that these guidelines are suggestions provided by the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida and are not mandatory. While these guidelines are expected to assist you as you create your parenting plan, remember that yours “should be tailored to your family’s particular needs.” Now, some things you are going to want to address when discussing child custody with your spouse include:
- How the child’s time is going to be divided between parents during the summer months. You might consider allowing the non-custodial parent to spend one-half of their child’s summer vacation with them and you and your spouse can determine what dates this time shall fall on. In the event the two of you cannot come to an agreement on when the non-custodial parent will get to spend time with their kids over the summer, you might consider having the time start at 9:00 a.m. on the second Saturday in June and continue for a period of six weeks.
- How often the non-custodial parent gets to see his or her kids on the weekends. One recommendation the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida provides is having the non-custodial parent see their children every other weekend. Their weekend shall start on Friday after school or work and last through Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
- Which parent gets to spend their child’s birthday with him or her. If you aren’t sure how to determine this, you could have the child’s non-custodial parent spend their child’s birthday with them each time they turn an even number.
- Which parent the child will get to spend certain holidays with.
It is very important that your parenting plan allows your child the opportunity to spend a substantial amount of time with both you and your spouse. Now, if you would like a legal expert to help you determine how custody should be divided among you and your spouse or need help with your divorce, contact The Aikin Family Law Group located in Orlando, FL.
The Aikin Family Law Group can be reached at:
111 N. Orange Avenue, Suite 800
Orlando, FL 32801