Under Florida law, it’s necessary to have a parenting plan when you have children and are getting a divorce. Co-parents will submit this plan to the courts detailing the rights and responsibilities of each parent for the entirety of your child’s eighteen years. 

Whether you have any disagreements on custody or not, this plan is required as a part of your divorce proceedings if you have a minor child. It’s best to consult an Orlando paternity lawyer but keep reading to understand more about a parenting plan.

Developing a Parenting Plan

Sometimes called a custody agreement in other states, Florida requires you to develop a parenting plan that includes each parents’ responsibilities for raising their children, along with a time-sharing schedule.

Once you have it, you will submit this plan through the court. It can be as complicated or as simple as possible, depending on your situation.


You will have to decide on time-sharing in your parenting plan, meaning: the times in which your children or child will be with each parent. This is where you will need to divide your time by first working out how much time each week the child will be spending each parent.

Think about every aspect of your child’s life here, including where they will sleep, which holidays they will spend with who, and the time, date, and place of exchanges. You will also want to include information on vacations, and any contingencies for if a parent moves.

Daily Responsibilities

Beyond timesharing, you’ll need to consider who will provide what for the child and handle which daily tasks.

For example, you’ll want to designate a parent to handle health care, or to be the parent who responds to school matters. You’ll also want to spend some time considering how each parent will communicate with the child and even when.

Future Possibilities

Especially if you have a very young child when you’re going through the divorce process, you will want to anticipate the future needs of the child.

For example, the time you spend with your child and your decisions will change as they get older. At three, they are likely not spending a lot of time on social media, but you’ll need to anticipate which parent is handling this particular issue at thirteen.

Why Develop a Plan?

Ultimately, you need to develop a parenting plan since it is required by law, but the whole point of the parenting plan is to move the focus of the divorce back to the child’s best interests. 

You will need to work together with the other parent to find a plan that not only works for both of you but for the child too.

Under Florida law, this is part of the effort to encourage more collaborative approaches to divorce. You both must agree on your plan before the divorce.

Plan Must-Haves

You can organize your plan however you want, but all plans must have a few things, including how rights and responsibilities will be split, decisions about extracurriculars, religious activities, and discipline too, to name a few. Expenses will additionally be a huge part of any plan and are indeed different from any separate child support arrangement you have.

You will also need to detail timesharing, communication, and transportation too, but don’t forget one other important thing: how changes will be handled. Have a contingency plan for if something goes wrong or how conflicts will work.


In Florida, you must have a parenting plan if you have a minor and you’re currently going through the process of divorce. This means thinking about what your child’s needs are and will be and which parent will handle them. Talk to us about how to get this process started, and spend time working with your spouse to ensure that your child gets the best plan possible.