mother sits with daughter on lap during holiday season
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By Michael Tupper
Attorney at Law

Parenting children is difficult, and it does not get easier when you and your partner separate. Two of the biggest points of contention between parents who are divorced or separated are child visitation and custody. 

Even though most parents understand that their child needs to spend time with each parent, disagreements and arguments can erupt when one parent feels they are not getting enough visitation.

No matter the dynamics of your co-parenting relationship, a parenting plan can provide parents and children with stability and predictability. To use a parenting plan effectively, you should keep the following in mind:

Work Collaboratively on Creating a Parenting Plan

First, you and the other parent must be willing to compromise and work together to create a parenting plan that will work for you both. Neither one of you will get everything you want. Instead, you must identify your custody and visitation priorities and work together to accommodate as many as possible.

For example, perhaps the Christmas holiday is meaningful to you both. You could alternate who has custody of your child each year. Alternatively, you could split the day each year and alternate who has custody on Christmas morning versus who has custody on Christmas evening. Find an arrangement that you both can live with.

Make Your Parenting Plan as Comprehensive as Possible

When crafting your parenting plan, think of issues other than who will have custody of your child on what date. Consider other terms like:

  • Where you and the other parent will meet to exchange custody
  • What should happen in the event there is an emergency
  • Custody arrangements for all holidays, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and parents’ birthdays
  • Whether international or interstate travel is permitted, and if so, what conditions are placed upon that travel

A Jacksonville family law attorney can help you consider topics your parenting plan should address and negotiate and draft your parenting plan.

Parenting Plans Are Meant to Be Flexible

Next, understand that you and the other parent need the parenting plan to be flexible occasionally. Be open to making adjustments for special events, emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Just as you should collaborate when making your parenting plan, you should try to work together to make adjustments as needed.

Whenever the other parent agrees to modify the parenting plan either temporarily or permanently, it is best to reduce the modification to writing and have the other parent sign it, if possible. If a formal document cannot be drawn up, try to record or memorialize the modification through text message, email, or voicemail.

Ask for Changes Well in Advance of Needing Them

Whenever possible, it is best to make modification requests known as soon as you can. Once you agree to a parenting plan, any changes must either be mutually agreed to or ordered by the court. While some co-parents are willing to cooperate and agree to modifications as needed, others are not.

By asking for a modification early, you leave plenty of time to seek a modification from the court if the other parent does not want to agree. Planning ahead is especially important during the holiday season when courts and judges can be difficult to access quickly.

Clear and Comprehensive Parenting Plans With Help From Your Florida Child Custody Lawyer

A Jacksonville family lawyer from Tupper Law, P.A. can assist you by negotiating a workable parenting plan for you with the other parent. We can help ensure all necessary topics are covered and the language is unambiguous. 

If enforcing or modifying the parenting plan becomes necessary, Tupper Law, P.A. can also help you do this. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your visitation or custody matter.

About the Author
Michael Tupper is an experienced and skilled attorney from Jacksonville, FL, and is the driving force behind Tupper Law P.A. With an illustrious career spanning several years, he has established himself as a reliable and skilled legal advisor and representative across various disciplines. Having obtained his license to practice law in the State of Florida in 2004, Michael has consistently catered to the legal needs of Northeast Florida, encompassing Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. His unwavering commitment to delivering timely, personalized, and proficient services reflects his dedication to providing the highest level of professional assistance.