Temporary Parenting Plan

Any divorce process between parents who share co-parenting responsibilities for a child younger than 18 will involve a parenting plan. This document is designed to safeguard against preventable tensions and to set expectations concerning critical co-parenting issues. For example, many parenting plans address how much time each parent will spend with their child after the divorce and who will make important decisions on behalf of the child concerning school, religion, healthcare, and other fundamental concerns. Oftentimes, the divorce process can take many months to resolve, so it is important to have a temporary parenting plan in place while a final decision in a divorce case remains pending.

In many cases, the temporary plan can be used as a template for the terms of a permanent parenting plan. As a result, it's essential to consider how a temporary plan is structured and to evaluate whether it works for both parents and their schedules. As the name indicates, though, a temporary parenting plan only remains in place during the time of a couple's divorce proceedings. The terms of the plan may change when the court issues its orders and finalizes the divorce. Therefore, it is not wise to assume that the terms of the temporary parenting plan will automatically become permanent at the end of the divorce process.

Florida Temporary Parenting Plan Attorney

If you are interested in drafting a temporary parenting plan today, seek the help of an experienced family law attorney at Bacchus Law Firm. We specialize in various areas of family law, including divorce, alimony and paternity. Be proactive in protecting your legal rights by seeking the legal advice of one of our lawyers today.

If you live in Miami, West Palm Beach, East Naples, and LaBelle, Florida, Bacchus Law Firm is ready to provide the guidance your family needs. Call (954) 500-5555 to schedule a free consultation today.

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Agreeing On Temporary Parenting Plan Terms

Courts prefer when parents agree on the issues that a parenting plan governs, such as caring for children's needs, time-sharing with the kids, decision-making issues, and ways to share the responsibilities of childcare in a fair way. If the parents agree on what kind of arrangement will work best for their child and for their evolving family, they can suggest the terms of a temporary parenting plan for the court's approval.

Before the court approves a proposal for a temporary parenting plan, though, a judge will want to be sure that the plan meets the child's best interests in every way, not just that the terms of the plan are convenient for one or both parents. If the parents can't agree to the terms of a temporary parenting plan while their divorce process has yet to be finalized, a judge will need to issue an order for a temporary plan constructed according to their perception of what is best.

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Key Elements Of A Temporary Parenting Plan

As with a final parenting plan, there are essential terms that should likely be included in any temporary plan to be sure that the child's needs are taken care of as the divorce process progresses. A temporary parenting plan approved by the court will likely contain:

  • A full explanation of how the parents will be responsible for sharing or dividing necessary daily tasks involved in raising their child. Naturally, these responsibilities will vary a great deal depending on the age and maturity of the child. For example, a baby requires significantly more ongoing attention and care than a teenager, and so the temporary parenting plan of a divorcing couple with very young children will be different from one issued for a couple with older kids.
  • A schedule that allows for time-sharing arrangements between the parents and that specifies clearly when the child will be with each parent and for how long parenting time stretches will last. The critical issue of transportation between the two parents' homes should also be explained in the temporary parenting plan.
  • Designation of primary responsibility for health care decisions, school-related matters, including registration and transportation to and from school, and other essential matters of the child's ongoing daily life until the divorce process is finalized.
  • Adequate detail about the means that each parent will use to communicate with the child, including what technologies or media are appropriate for each parent to stay in contact with their child.

Whether terms are settled by mutual agreement between parents or put in place by order of the court, a temporary parenting plan must be thorough and detailed enough to address all anticipated and potential issues that are likely to arise in the child's life during the time that everyone is waiting for a final divorce order to be handed down.

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Temporary Motion For Time Sharing

In some cases, the individuals going through divorce aren't able to agree on many basic matters, including issues of childcare and time-sharing. If one parent decides that the only way to resolve the issue is with a court ruling, they can make a temporary motion for time-sharing. A motion is a formal request for the judge to decide an issue and give an official court ruling resolving the matter.

A temporary motion for time-sharing can ask the court to decide who will have majority physical custody of the child during the divorce proceedings, how parenting time is to be divided between the parents, and which parent will have primary responsibility for important decisions like healthcare and schooling. After one parent files the motion, the court will hold a hearing before issuing a temporary parenting plan so that the other parent can respond and the court can weigh the virtues of both positions.

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Hearing On A Temporary Parenting Plan

At a hearing concerning a temporary motion for time-sharing, the court will listen to arguments and receive evidence from both parties. Evidence may be presented in the form of documents, like school, medical, or financial records, for example, or it can be offered as testimony. Each parent can testify at the hearing and can call teachers, medical experts, other family members, or anyone who has relevant and useful facts to explain to the court why their position should be honored.

Usually, courts prefer to issue standard temporary time-sharing orders that evenly divide time between parents and attempt to allocate parental responsibilities as fairly as possible. A judge, however, is bound to honor the best interests of the child as the primary guideline for making decisions about parental roles and duties. The court may issue an order that deviates from the usual standards in some cases wherein the child's best interests call for a different result.

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Emergency Custody Motions

If there are circumstances that concern one parent about the child's living situation, the judge might issue an emergency motion for custody. These motions are usually only granted under limited, serious circumstances wherein the child's safety or health might be at risk. A court will ordinarily only consider an emergency custody motion if one parent believes that there is a risk of harm to the child because of:

  • The other parent's substance abuse challenges that could impair the individual's judgment and ability to care for the child
  • A threat of abduction, where one parent might remove the child from the area without proper authorization
  • Concerns of abuse or neglect that would impact the child's well-being

While they are rare and are only supposed to be granted in cases involving a risk of actual harm to the child or damage to one parent's ability to have a relationship with the child, an emergency motion may be appropriate in cases where there are legitimate concerns for a child's safety and stability.

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Additional Resources

CustodyXchange – This resource provides information for parents, legal tool kits, assistance with parenting schedules, and more. Parents can access a series of in-depth guides that explore valuable information on helping children with the process of divorce, financial planning while going through a divorce, and resources on both parental responsibility and time-sharing under Florida law.

Florida's Family Court – A service of Florida Courts, this Family Court website provides legal information, facts, forms, tool kits, definitions of standard terms and acronyms in family court, and links to relevant and helpful resources that can provide additional information and assistance.

Florida Statutes – These statutes detail the complete text of laws relating to dissolution of marriage, support, and time-sharing issues in Florida. The broader website contains full statutes with all relevant links to referenced laws within each statute and detailed legislative history of each current Florida divorce law.

Educational Pamphlet: Parenting and Divorce – Published by the Florida State Bar Association, this educational guide discusses the impact that divorce has on children, constructing and navigating parenting plans, and highlights resources that parents can access for more information as they process shifts in their family dynamic.

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Florida Temporary Parenting Plan Attorney | Broward County, FL

At Bacchus Law Firm, our family law attorneys have extensive experience with drafting parenting plans for all different types of situations. If you are interested in creating a temporary parenting plan, contact us today. We will assist you throughout this stressful process.

We take cases throughout the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area in counties like Collier County, Palm Beach County, Hendry County, and Miami-Dade County. Call (954) 500-5555 to arrange a free consultation today.

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