As you plan your Florida divorce with minor children involved, one thing you will need to accomplish is a written parenting plan. This plan will outline such things as parental responsibilities, scheduling and decision-making to create as smooth and cooperative a transition as possible for your children. The best plans will have these four elements, though your individual circumstances may require others.
1. When each parent will have the children
The first thing to determine is when the children will spend time with each parent. In most cases, parents will have joint custody over their children. You and your spouse will need to decide when you each will have the children both on a day-to-day basis and on holidays and other special occasions, such as birthdays and vacations. You will need to consider work, school and extracurricular activities to find the best schedule for the family.
2. What daily caregiving responsibilities each parent will have
Caring for children requires a lot of time, energy and resources. Discuss with your spouse the daily responsibilities each of you will have. Who will drop off and pick up the children from school? Who will be involved in extracurricular activities? Who will make doctor appointments and accompany the children to them? Who will pay for extra expenses? Some responsibilities you may want to assign to a specific parent, and others you can share depending on who currently has the children. Take into account your work schedules and health.
3. Which parent will make which decisions
Deciding now who will have the power to make certain decisions for your children is especially important if you and your spouse want as little to do with each other as possible. You will need to share some decisions, however, such as medical care and educational matters. You should also review the rules you will have in each home. Aim for a similar routine, lifestyle and parenting for consistency to help your children adjust better.
5. How you will communicate
As much as you’d like to never speak to your spouse again, it’s not an option. You need an open line of communication. Decide how you both will communicate and how often. Disputes are nearly inevitable, but they don’t have to be damaging. When they arise, you can use a mediator or counselor to help you manage them civilly. Your children will learn from your example how to handle differences appropriately.
If you are going through a divorce with children, it’s a good idea to get help. You can write your parenting plan with an attorney to ensure you include all information relevant to your situation.