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Parenting Plan

Florida state law requires the creation of a parenting plan, which either the parents agree to or one that is imposed by the court. The parenting plan governs parenting time with children after a divorce or paternity dispute.

At a minimum, the parenting plans must describe in adequate detail: how the parties will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child or children; the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child or children will spend with each parent; a designation of who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school-related matters, including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration, other activities; and the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child or children.

It can be very difficult to modify a parenting plan, so individuals who are formulating a plan will want to make sure that all of their concerns are properly addressed in the original agreement.

Attorney for Parenting Plans in West Palm Beach, FL

Do you need assistance completing a parenting plan for your divorce or separation in South Florida? Contact Quality Family Law as soon as possible.

Our divorce lawyers in West Palm Beach help clients with child custody issues in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, and many surrounding areas of Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County.

Call (561) 557-8686 right now to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Parenting Plans in Palm Beach County


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Required Elements of Parenting Plans in Florida

Florida Statute § 61.13(2)(b) establishes that a parenting plan approved by the court must, at a minimum:

  • Describe in adequate detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child;
  • Include the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child will spend with each parent;
  • Designate who will be responsible for: any and all forms of health care. if the court orders shared parental responsibility over health care decisions, the parenting plan must provide that either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child; school-related matters, including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration; and other activities; and
  • Describe in adequate detail the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.

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Child's Best Interests in West Palm Beach Parenting Plans

Under Florida Statute § 61.13(3), the best interest of the child is the primary consideration in establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule.

Any determination of parental responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing schedule cannot be modified without a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination that the modification is in the best interests of the child.

Determination of the best interests of the child will be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family, including, but not limited to:

  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required;
  • The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties;
  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent;
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
  • The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child;
  • The moral fitness of the parents;
  • The mental and physical health of the parents;
  • The home, school, and community record of the child;
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference;
  • The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things;
  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime;
  • The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child;
  • Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child;
  • Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect;
  • The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties;
  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities;
  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse;
  • The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child;
  • The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs; and
  • Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

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Palm Beach County Penalties for Parenting Plan Violations

Florida Statute § 61.13(4)(b) states that when a parent refuses to honor the other parent’s rights under the time-sharing schedule, the parent whose time-sharing rights were violated will still continue to pay any ordered child support or alimony.

If a parent refuses to honor the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan without proper cause, the court may:

  • After calculating the amount of time-sharing improperly denied, award the parent denied time a sufficient amount of extra time-sharing to compensate for the time-sharing missed, and such time-sharing shall be ordered as expeditiously as possible in a manner consistent with the best interests of the child and scheduled in a manner that is convenient for the parent deprived of time-sharing;
  • Order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to pay reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the nonoffending parent to enforce the time-sharing schedule;
  • Order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to attend a parenting course approved by the judicial circuit;
  • Order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to do community service if the order will not interfere with the welfare of the child;
  • Order the parent who did not provide time-sharing or did not properly exercise time-sharing under the time-sharing schedule to have the financial burden of promoting frequent and continuing contact when that parent and child reside further than 60 miles from the other parent;
  • Upon the request of the parent who did not violate the time-sharing schedule, modify the parenting plan if modification is in the best interests of the child; and
  • Impose any other reasonable sanction as a result of noncompliance.

An alleged violation is also punishable by contempt of court or other remedies as the court deems appropriate, possibly resulting in fines and imprisonment.


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Florida Parenting Plan Resources

Chapter 61 | Florida Statutes — Access all state laws relating to child support in parenting plans. You can find statutes that cover adjudication of obligation to support spouse or minor child unconnected with dissolution and parenting plans as well as parenting plan recommendations. Florida Statute § 61.20 covers social investigations and recommendations regarding parenting plans, while Florida Statute § 61.45 covers court-ordered parenting plans and risks of violations.

Instructions For Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.995(A), Parenting Plan — View the form used in the development of a parenting plan in Florida. When an agreement is reached, both parties must sign the parenting plan and have their signatures witnessed by a notary public or deputy clerk. The primary consideration in any parenting plan is the best interests of the child or children.


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Quality Family Law | West Palm Beach Parenting Plan Lawyer

If you are attempting to create or modify a parenting plan in South Florida, it is in your best interest to make sure that you retain legal counsel.

Quality Family Law represents individuals in communities all over Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County, such as Palm Beach Gardens, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, and many others.

Our West Palm Beach divorce attorneys can collect all of the evidence and contact the witnesses necessary to help you possibly have your petition granted.

You can have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (561) 557-8686 or complete an online form to set up a free initial consultation.



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