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Understanding Florida's parenting plan requirement

A parenting plan is required by Florida courts when a couple with minor children divorces and the case will involve time-sharing between the two parents. Even if there are no disputes between the parents with respect to child custody or how the children will share their time between them, the court does require that the proper Parenting Plan form be filed regardless.

If an agreement has been reached between the children's parents, then they both need to sign the parenting plan form. This act must be witnessed by a notary public. If a public notary is not available, then a deputy clerk can serve as a signing witness.

If the children's parents are not able to come to any sort of agreement prior to the final court hearing, then both parents are encouraged to file a proposed parenting plan form. If no agreement has been reached prior to the final hearing, the court will establish a parenting plan and may take any proposed parenting plans that have been submitted into consideration.

A parenting plan submitted to the court must adequately describe how each party will share or be responsible for the daily tasks related to the upbringing of each child after divorce. The plan should contain a clear and concise time-sharing schedule that delineates the amount of time each child will spend with each parent.

The parenting plan must also designate who will be responsible for each child's health care, as well as any school related matters up to and including which parent's address will be used to determine the school system the children will attend. Finally, the parenting plan must also list the different methods and any related technologies that the parents will use to communicate with their children.

In some cases supervised time sharing is what is recommended by the court or requested by either or both parents. In such cases, the proper Supervised/Safety Focused Parenting Plan form must be used instead of the standard Parenting Plan form. Similarly, if the case involves relocation by either or both parties, then a Relocation/Long Distance Parenting Plan form must be filled out.

Source: Florida Courts, "Parenting Plan," Accessed April 27, 2015

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