Children are frequently and accurately viewed as caught in the middle of a Florida divorce. When a couple has decided to end a marriage, the children should be given special consideration to smooth the process for them as much as possible. As the case proceeds, this can be difficult, especially in contentious situations. Still, from the outset, there are certain facts to remember. When crafting a parenting plan, knowing the basics is key.
What does the court seek to achieve in a parenting plan?
The time the child will spend with each parent must be addressed in the parenting plan. The plan should also say which parent makes the health care decisions on behalf of the child. It might say that the parents share that responsibility and must consult and agree to any treatment.
School and extracurricular activities will be part of the plan. If a parent wants the child to receive education at a religious-based school, that might need to be part of the parenting plan agreement.
The goal is for the child to have substantive contact with both parents provided it serves the child’s best interests. The parents should continue to consult with each other about important issues in the child’s life. Often, fathers are concerned that the mother automatically has an advantage with custody determinations, but the court does not enter a case with preconceived notions as to which parent would receive preference based on gender. The court strives for minor children to be shared by both parents except in cases where safety is an issue such as allegations or incidents of domestic violence.
Parents should know their rights
Some parents can agree to a parenting plan protocol and need limited or no court intervention. Others are more complex and the court must assess the situation and make its determination. This is a challenging area of divorce and even in cases where the parents are on relatively good terms, it is wise to have professional assistance to be fully protected. In acrimonious cases, it is obviously necessary. Discussing the case from the start with those experienced in family law is useful to try and forge an acceptable result for the good of the parents and especially the children.