Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody

Sometimes, we come across Florida parenting plans which grant a parent "liberal visitation" with the children, with the other parent having primary time-sharing. But what does "liberal" mean? Each parent may have a different definition of what this means, causing conflict and inconsistent time-sharing when a parenting plan lacks a specific schedule.

Florida parenting plans, at a minimum, must: 

1. Describe in adequate detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child;

2. Include the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child will spend with each parent;

3. Designate who will be responsible for:

a. 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.

b. School-related matters, including the address to be used for school-boundary determination and registration.

c. Other activities; and

4. Describe in adequate detail the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child.

See section 61.13(2)(b), Florida Statutes. 

When a parenting plan lacks a specific schedule, an appellate court may find the final Florida child custody order to be legally insufficient, as was the case in Duke v. Duke, 211 So.3d 1078 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  Without specificity, the parent who is awarded "liberal" time-sharing may not exercise visitation if the other parent will not cooperate in facilitating it. 

Creating your Florida parenting plan is a delicate and important task that should be handled with care. Consulting with a Miami child custody lawyer to go over what terms should be included in your plan is a good start to protecting the best interest of your children