Florida Parenting Plan

Child Visitation & Parenting Plan Forms in Florida

Florida Parenting Plan: Free parenting plan for Florida, forms and instructions. Shared parenting plan in Florida for divorce or child custody and visitation cases. Free downloads and instructions. Florida divorce law requires a Parenting Plan for all divorcing couples with children starting October 1, 2008.

Florida law has had a strong public policy about children and divorce for several decades. The Parenting Plan requirement must be met for all Florida divorces involving children and custody and visitation cases.

Florida Parenting Plan Law & Forms

As Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes states:

It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys of childrearing.

Florida law divides parenting issues into three categories: parental responsibility, time sharing, and support.

The law requires divorced parents share parental responsibility for their child after divorce, unless shared responsibility is detrimental to the child.

The goal is to keep both parents involved in the life of the child.

A Florida Parenting Plan is required in all cases involving time-sharing with minor children, even when time-sharing is not in dispute.

Instructions For Form 12.995(a), Parenting Plan

When should Florida parenting plan form be used?

This form or a similar form should be used in the development of a Florida Parenting Plan.

If the case involves supervised time-sharing, the Supervised/Safety Focused FL Parenting Plan, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.995 (b) or a similar form should be used.

This Florida Parenting Plan form should be typed or printed in black ink. If an agreement has been reached, both parties must sign the Florida Parenting Plan and have their signatures witnessed by a notary public or deputy clerk.

After completing this Florida Parenting Plan form, you should file the original with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the petition was filed and keep a copy for your records.

You should then refer to the instructions for your petition, answer, or answer and counterpetition concerning the procedures for setting a hearing or trial (final hearing).

If an agreed Florida Parenting Plan is not filed by the parties, the Court shall establish a Florida Parenting Plan.

Where can I look for more information?

Before proceeding, you should read General Information for Self-Represented Litigants found at the beginning of these forms. The words that are in “bold underline” in these instructions are defined there.

The Twelfth Judicial Circuit has an excellent on-line page about FL Parenting Plans. We highly recommend it.

For further information, see chapter 61, Florida Statutes, and the instructions for the petition and/or answer that were filed in this case.

Special Notes

At a minimum, the Florida Parenting Plan must describe in adequate detail:

  • How the parties will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the children,

  • The time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor children will spend with each parent,

  • A designation of who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school-related matters, other activities, and

  • The methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the children.

The best interests of the children is the primary consideration in the Florida Parenting Plan.

In creating the Florida Parenting Plan, all circumstances between the parties, including the parties’ historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration.

Determination of the best interests of the children shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interest of the minor children, 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 children as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent;

  • The length of time the children 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 children;

  • The moral fitness of the parents;

  • The mental and physical health of the parents;

  • The home, school, and community record of the children;

  • The reasonable preference of the child(ren), if the court deems the children 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 children, including, but not limited to, the children’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 children, 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 children, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the children;

  • 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;

  • 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 or 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 children’s school and extracurricular activities;

  • The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the children which is free from substance abuse;

  • The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the children from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the children, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the children, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the children; and

  • The developmental stages and needs of the children and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the children’s developmental needs.

This standard Florida Parenting Plan form does not include every possible issue that may be relevant to the facts of your case. The Florida Parenting Plan should be as detailed as possible to address the time-sharing schedule.

Additional provisions should be added to address all of the relevant factors. The parties should give special consideration to the age and needs of each child.

In developing the Florida Parenting Plan, you may wish to consult or review other materials which are available at your local library, law library or through national and state family organizations.

Some Additional Notes

Shared parental responsibility means that both parents discuss and decide major decisions affecting the child.

These are the decisions that have long-term consequences in your child’s life. Some examples involve the choice of:

  • school
  • child care facility
  • camps
  • doctors
  • psychotherapy
  • surgery
  • other long-term medical treatment
  • sports and other out-of-school activities
  • trips and passports

For an older child it means making decisions about issues like part-time employment, driving, buying a car, dropping out of school, and college education.

As your child gets older, consider having a joint discussion on these issues with your child. Of course, the child should never be responsible for any final decision.

Some additional decision-making areas to consider in your Florida parenting plan include:

  • Transportation - How do the gets get between homes? Where is the exchange point? What are the details of transportation between the two homes? Who is driving? What time? If you use the school as the exchange point, what happens when school is not in session?
  • Relocation - Under what circumstances will the custodial parent be able to move away with the child? (If you do not decide this now, you will have to follow the procedures of Fla. Statute 61.13001.

  • Education - Who will attend school conferences and how will parents receive notice? How will each parent receive other school information? How will extra school or tutoring fees be divided? Will private school tuition be paid and for how long? Although not required, do you both agree to cover college costs for your child? If so, what is included in “college costs?”

  • Religious Affiliation and Training - Is there agreement to raise the children in a specific faith? How will the costs associated with religious affiliation and education be paid? What is the transportation plan? Are you both agreeing that the child will attend certain religious events or education, regardless of whose parenting time is used? Will these decisions be delegated to the parent who feels this area is more important? If so, will that affect the cost sharing in any way?

  • Emergencies - What is the time frame for notifying the other parent? What authority does the parent who has the child have to consent to treatment?

  • Make-up Time - If one of you is unable to exercise time sharing with the children, under what circumstances will there be make-up time?

  • Recreational Activities & Vacations - How will the costs associated with activities be paid? What is the transportation plan? Are you both agreeing that the child will attend certain activities, regardless of whose parenting time is used? Will these decisions be delegated to the parent who feels this area is more important? If so, will that affect the cost sharing in any way? When will vacation plan be made? Will the children have passports? Which of you will hold the passports? How and when will the other parent get the passports if needed for vacation?

Parents may want to divide up the areas, each taking responsibility for certain ones. Some parents prefer to meet and discuss all issues together and reach a joint decision.

Others may allow one parent to make the decisions and inform the other parent.

There are no set rules for shared decision making, but the new law requires a description of how the parents will share the daily tasks of child upbringing and time sharing with each parent.

The Florida parenting plan must also describe who is responsible for health care, school matters and activities and what communication methods the parents will use to contact the children.

Parents’ post-divorce decision making process is often the same type of process they had during the marriage.

When developing a Florida parenting plan, consider how the decisions have been made in the past and what changes may be needed to that process now that the parents will live apart.

Starting October 1, 2008, you must describe the decision making process your family will use in your Florida parenting plan.

Florida Best Interest Factors

Florida’s “best interest” of children factors will change on October 1, 2008.

Notice the clear emphasis on demonstrating parenting behaviors and a history of meeting the child’s needs.

Keeping children away from the divorce case is another area that is now clearly spelled out in the law.

Here are the new factors:

(a) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close & continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the timesharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.

(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.

(c) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to determine, consider & act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) 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 permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.

(f) The moral fitness of the parents.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age.

(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, & 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.

(k) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.

(l) 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.

(m) 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.

(n) 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.

(o) 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.

(p) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.

(q) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.

(r) The capacity & 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.

(s) The developmental stages & needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.

(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific issue.

These are the factors a judge will use when determining all child-related issues starting October 1, 2008. Now that the law has changed, there will no longer be a “primary residential parent” and Florida parenting plans are now required.

Much more than a visitation schedule, Florida parenting plans must be comprehensive and cover not only time sharing, but decision-making and child support.

Modifying Child Custody & Visitation in Florida

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Interactive Fillable Forms

Interactive Fill-able Florida Family Law Forms

Most Requested Forms

Form 12.905(a) Supplemental Petition to Modify Parental Responsibility, Visitation or Parenting Plan/Time-Sharing Schedule and Other Relief. DEC 2010 ($2.95) Buy Now

Form 12.905(b) Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support. DEC 2010 ($2.95) Buy Now

Form 12.983(a) Petition to Determine Paternity and for Related Relief. OCT 2011 ($4.95) Buy Now

Form 12.995(a) Parenting Plan. OCT 2011 ($4.95) Buy Now

Form 12.995(b) Supervised/Safety-Focused Parenting Plan. OCT 2011 ($4.95) Buy Now

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Modifying Child Custody, Visitation & Child Support
Modifying Child Custody, Visitation & Child Support

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Florida Statutes 61.13
Support of children; parenting and time-sharing; powers of court.

Florida Statutes 61.13001
Parental relocation with a child.

Florida Statutes 61.21
Parenting course authorized; fees; required attendance authorized; contempt.

Florida Statutes 751.01
Temporary custody of minor children - Purpose of act.