In Florida, parents who divorce or separate are generally required to establish parenting plans. These documents typically include information about the overall breakdown of parenting time. They also provide structure for when adults have to make decisions about their children.
Florida state law actually requires that a few specific details need to be added to parenting plans to help minimize the conflict between the adults in a family. In addition to discussing time-sharing rules and decision-making authority, parenting plans need to discuss how the adults communicate with their children.
Communication rules are among the most important terms that parents need to include in a parenting plan. The goal of a parenting parent is to help divide parental responsibilities and rights between two adults living separately. Ideally, the terms included can help minimize conflict and promote an amicable relationship.
Communication with the children is crucial
Parents need to have very clear standards regarding communication with their children. Particularly when it is not someone’s parenting time, they need to have ways to effectively communicate with the children. Doing so is important for bonding and also safety. A parenting plan should include an outline of what forms of communication the family plans to utilize. For example, the parents may agree to allow phone and video calls, but not messaging on social media platforms.
Rules regarding when one parent can call or video chat with the children may also be necessary. Both parents should try to ensure that the other can communicate with the children when either they or the children so desire. When these communication terms involve paid services, the parenting plan may even need to discuss financial responsibility for those different services.
Communication between parents can cause conflict
Adults often have unique communication styles. Digital communication devices have made it easier than ever before for people to communicate at any time, including when they are too emotional to be rational. Those who have divorced or separated may no longer communicate effectively with one another. Therefore, parenting plans often need to include rules about how the adults will communicate with one another. The law does not require such terms, but they can still be a wise inclusion.
Many families proactively avoid conflict by requiring all communication through a specific parenting app. That way, there is one location for all details and a written record of what each adult says to the other. Having all communication in writing can sometimes deter unnecessary conflict between the parents and may even resolve some disputes.
Ideally, if there are clear rules about communication, then the likelihood of conflict related to communication may be lower. Including thoughtful details in a Florida parenting plan can help minimize the conflict that a family experiences as it evolves.