dad carrying his son on his back

Parenting Plan VS Custody Agreement

We are often asked what the difference is in a parenting plan and a custody agreement (or time-sharing agreement as it is called in Florida). A parenting plan is the document that includes all the details about raising your children including the time-sharing agreement. These are not two separate documents, but rather a custody/time-sharing agreement is a subset of the parenting plan.

Elements of a Parenting Plan

Now that we have established that it is not parenting plan versus time-sharing agreement, you need to understand all the elements included in the plan in Florida.

  • Time-sharing agreement – This document spells out when the child will be at each parents’ home. It includes the location and time of the exchange. You need to include a regular schedule, holiday schedule, and summer schedule if your children are of school age.
  • Educational plans – Here you will agree to the education path your child follows. If you choose private schooling, also include who pays what portion of the schooling. No matter what type of school, it is often best to spell out what percentage of extra fees, including school supplies, each parent covers. If after-school care or daycare is still necessary, include your plans for those here.
  • Religious upbringing – If religion is important to one or both parents, include as much detail as possible regarding your compromise or plan.
  • Medical decisions and expenses – Who is the primary emergency contact? Do they have the ability to make emergency decisions without consulting the other parent? What sort of decisions must be made jointly? Whose insurance covers the child and what percent of the deductible and co-pays does each parent pay?
  • Legal custody – Even if the child splits time equally between households, one parent needs to have legal custody. This is also where many parents include who claims the child on income taxes. If that alternates, lay out the schedule.
  • Extra-curricular activities – These often have associated costs and can interfere with scheduled exchanges. Spell out how who pays for registration, uniforms, equipment, and any other related fees.

Keep in mind that every situation differs. And, although these are the primary elements included in a parenting plan, you can include anything else you feel is important to have in writing.

Do Parenting Plans Ever Change?

There are many types of changes. Temporary changes, like when one parent has increased business travel, do not necessarily need a formal parent plan adjustment. If you can come to terms on an arrangement that works for both of you, do so. That will cost you less in the long run. However, if you have a more permanent need for a change, like one parent has to move for their job, you may want to work with a family law firm and formally change the agreement. As your child ages, you may also see that the current plan is not in their best interest and decide a formal change is best for everyone.

Wagstaff & Pitelis Can Help with New Parenting Plans or Modifying Them

As a family law firm, one of our areas of experience is child custody. We can help you with a new parenting plan agreement or modifying an existing one. Whether all or part of your parenting plans needs adjusting, call us at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form for your initial consultation today.