Going through a divorce raises many questions on what changes will be necessary, especially those concerning minor children. As a Palm Beach Gardens family law attorney, I have 25 years of experience helping clients answer those vital questions. My name is William Wallshein, and I work tirelessly to make sure that my clients’ children have the security they need during and following their parents’ divorce.Parental Responsibility in Florida
To provide families going through marriage dissolution with a useful template for co-parenting, the Florida legislature guided parents in defining their roles regarding their children following divorce. Florida law has specific guidelines regarding traditional custody issues, but it also requires parents to create a more detailed blueprint for which parent is responsible for certain decisions relating to their children. Parents must agree upon a parenting plan containing time-sharing stipulations and other parental responsibilities.What is Included in Parenting Plans
Parenting plans spell out the rights and responsibilities of both parents in regards to their children. They must describe in detail how parents will share responsibilities for daily tasks associated with a child’s upbringing. These comprehensive plans define what role each parent will play in the child’s life, from day-to-day decision-making to larger, more important responsibilities.
Included in the parenting plan is whether parents will have sole or shared parental responsibility. This refers to a determination regarding whether one parent has primary decision-making power, or if both parents will retain power to decide on important aspects of their children’s lives, including choices regarding their education and medical care.
Parenting plans must also contain a time-sharing agreement that specifies the time that children will be with each parent. The time-sharing schedule details which holidays, school vacations or breaks, and overnight stays will be spent with which parent. This document ensures that parents and children will know when they will be together, providing a structured, stable timeframe and allowing all members of the family to plan accordingly.Court Involvement in Determining Parental Responsibility
Sometimes couples going through a divorce are unable to agree upon terms for a parenting plan or time-sharing agreement. In these cases, a court will step in and create a plan for them, using what is in the children’s best interest as the primary consideration. In determining what is the best interest of the child, courts consider all of the following factors:
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- Anticipated division of parental responsibilities, including delegation of responsibilities to third parties
- Capacity and disposition of each parent in considering their children’s needs versus their own
- The child’s age, and where he or she attends school
- The child’s reasonable preference
- Any evidence of a parent’s substance abuse, violence, or neglect
Whether a court or the parents ultimately create the parenting plan, all parties should give particular attention to the age and needs of the child. Parenting plans and time-sharing schedules are permanent, binding documents, which may not be modified without a showing of a substantial, unexpected change in circumstances and a determination that the modification is in the best interests of the child. Given the strict standards for modification, consulting a knowledgeable lawyer is advisable to ensure that parenting plans are executed properly.West Palm Beach Attorney Skilled in Advising on Parental Responsibility Plans
If you are filing for divorce, it is important to make sure your children’s lives remain as stable as possible. Creating a thorough and carefully executed parenting plan is key to establishing that stability. I am William Wallshein, a West Palm Beach family law lawyer with over 30 years of experience helping former couples determine how to co-parent in the best interest of their children. I represent clients throughout Palm Beach, Martin, and Broward Counties, ensuring that parents with children going through a divorce have their voices heard. Please call 561-533-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.