When Florida parents divorce they will have to make decisions about custody and their children’s care. This information will be included in a parenting plan. A parenting plan will set out the terms of how the former couple are to parent and share time with their children after the divorce. When the former couple has very young children, the plan will have to be adapted to their needs. Likewise, if the children are older, the plan will need to contain provisions which are appropriate for their care. Here is what you need to know about parenting plans for toddlers v. older children:
Florida law requires that divorcing parents be subject to a parenting plan which sets out how the parents will divide their time-sharing (physical custody) of their children, will divide decision-making authority, make healthcare decisions, attend and support extracurricular activities, and make other routine care decisions. These plans serve to create a blueprint which parents will follow to meet their children's needs and work with one another.
Parenting Plans for Toddlers
When preparing a plan which is uniquely suited to younger children it is essential to be mindful of where they are in terms of their ages and development. Toddlers are at a stage where they need structure and consistency to feel secure. When crafting a parenting plan, it will be important to create time-sharing which supports these goals. For instance, a toddler may do better remaining with one parent for the weekdays when they are attending pre-school and with the other parent for weekend time. In most cases, parents will have success with their toddler’s parenting plan if it is prepared with their child’s development in mind.
Parenting Plans and Older Children
Parenting plans for older children will need to have more considerations for their schedules and preferences. As with younger children, a parenting plan for this age group will need to be sensitive to the child’s maturity level. For instance, a time-sharing plan which pulls a teenager away from extracurricular activities and friends may create resentment. Therefore, depending on the child’s situation, parents may need to adapt their schedules to accommodate their child’s activities and social preferences.
Parenting Plan for All Children
If at all possible, parents will do best to create a parenting plan for their children which is built around the parents’ shared decision-making, being flexible when it comes to school and extra-curricular activities, and being cooperative with their parenting time. Life is not inert and as such parents and children will have changing circumstances which are bound to require that they deviate from the exact terms of their parenting plan. When parents can work together for the good of their children, everyone benefits. Creating a parenting plan which meets the unique needs of your family is invaluable. We have knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys who can help you devise a plan which provides for your children's best interest and will serve your family's needs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with the Draper Firm.