Florida now refers to custody orders as parenting plans. A parenting plan puts more of the focus on the needs of the children as opposed to the rights of the parents. The law in Florida imposes numerous requirements on adults establishing parenting plans.
Their arrangements with one another typically need to conform to state law. Every parenting plan needs to include rules for time-sharing or the division of parenting time. The parents also need to have clear rules for decision-making authority related to their children. Communication rules are also an important and legally necessary component of Florida parenting plans.
What communication terms should parents set?
The family law statutes in Florida include instructions on communication rules. The parents in the family generally need to discuss what methods of communication one adult can use to remain in contact with children during the other adult’s parenting time.
Email, video calls, text messages and other forms of electronic communications, including calls to a parent’s device if the children do not have their own phones, are common. The communication rules may also include reasonable restrictions on communication access. For example, when the children are young, the parents may agree that they should not take phone calls in the last half an hour before their standard bedtime. In some families, it may even be necessary to outline a specific schedule for phone calls or video chats so that both parents can plan accordingly and enforce the agreement in the event of non-compliance.
A parenting plan should help both parents maintain an active role in the lives of the children regardless of how the family circumstances might change. Clarifying the devices that the children can use for communication and the schedule of availability, as well as rules for the frequency of certain types of communication, can help cut down on the conflict between the parents.
It is important to be as flexible as possible in the co-parenting relationship. However, if one parent consistently violates the terms of a parenting plan, it may then be necessary to take the matter back to family court for a parenting plan modification or enforcement. Carefully considering the terms included in a Florida parenting plan can help reduce conflict and protect everyone’s rights.