Florida's Child Custody
and Parenting Plan Attorneys

Florida law recognizes that children benefit from contact with both parents and emphasize co-parenting following a divorce. Both parents have equal rights to custody and the parenting of their children. A child’s best interest is the foundation of any decision made by the court in child custody. Some of the factors central to child custody decisions are the parents’ ability to meet the child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. It includes assessing the parents’ moral fitness, the child’s developmental age, and the parents’ capacity to provide a safe and secure environment. Custody of a child is in jeopardy for a parent who has demonstrated domestic violence, substance abuse, or illegal behaviors.
The Parenting Plan details the rights and responsibilities of parents for custody and timesharing of minor children. If the parents agree on a reasonable plan in the child’s best interests, it is reviewed and approved by the court as part of a divorce decree. If the parents are in dispute regarding the terms of the Parenting Plan, the court will establish the plan with or without the parents’ recommendations.

Parenting Plans include but are not limited to:

  • A designated permanent address and daily custody timesharing schedule
  • Specific timesharing schedules for the holidays, school breaks, and travel arrangements between households
  • The division of costs for education, medical and dental care, extracurricular activities, and childcare
  • A designated parent who will be responsible for education and health-related matters
  • A communication plan to enable both parents to remain in contact with the child
  • The dispute resolution method if it is necessary to alter the plan

Florida has Several Types of Parenting Plans

A parenting plan needs to reflect each family’s unique circumstances and dynamics. A basic plan is appropriate for parents who agree on most aspects of timesharing and responsibilities, live within 50 miles from each other, and communicate reasonably well. There cannot be a history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
For parents who live more than 50 miles from each other, there is a long-distance plan. It has the same criteria as the basic plan, with additional details about communication and travel for the child.
A highly structured plan is for parents who have challenges communicating with each other and disagree on shared responsibility and timesharing. It is utilized for a high-conflict family that has no history of domestic abuse. It sets strict rules for decision-making and timesharing.
A safety-focused plan is for families at risk for domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, and criminal activity. This plan includes supervised or no overnight visits with the parent that poses a risk to the child. In some cases, the court may deny all timesharing with the child. There are strict restrictions on firearms, discipline, and substance abuse.

Boudreau Law Firm has more than Four Decades of Experience in Family Law

Our law firm offers caring and compassionate representation for child custody matters. Attorneys Gayle Boudreau and Robert A. Sandow, Attorney of Counsel, believe the focus in a custody battle should always be the child’s needs. Our goal is to help the parents create a parenting plan that encourages the child to thrive. We can guide you through the legal process to develop, negotiate, and execute a custody and parenting plan that is best for your family. In the future, if the custody and parenting plan no longer serves the best interest of the child due to significant lifestyle changes, we can petition the court for a modification.

Contact our Lake City office at 386-961-8001 to meet with an accomplished and responsive family law attorney. We represent clients throughout the Third Judicial Circuit Court, including seven counties in Florida. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Let us explore all the options for your circumstances to determine the right course of action for you.