Developing a parenting plan in Florida

A divorce is hard on a family. The well-being of your children is subject to turmoil during this difficult time. When you have children, it is important to put aside the differences you and your spouse have to ensure that you co-parent agreeably. 

When you find yourself in the middle of a divorce, it is important to think about your parenting plan with your spouse to enable your children thrive under new circumstances. The court may grant, approve or modify your parenting plan. 

Parenting plan requirements

The Florida statute outlines minimum requirements that a parenting plan approved by the court must meet. 

The parenting plan needs to describe how the parents will share daily responsibilities associated with raising the child. It must have the time-sharing schedule arrangements dictating how much time the child spends with each parent. Also, it must note who is responsible for school matters, health care, and other activities. Lastly, the parenting plan should describe how the parents will communicate with the child. 

The court determines the time-sharing and parenting matters in the best interest of each minor child. The parenting plan is subject to modification if sudden changes arise in the circumstances of one of the parents. 

Staying civil during meetings for a parenting plan

Contesting custody is costly and very painful for everyone involved. Sometimes by the end of a grueling case, no one is happy with the court’s decisions. It is important to resolve disputes so that you and your spouse can have a reasonable agreement where the children do not suffer. 

Keep your children at the center of the discussion. Ensure that the conversation involves what you and your spouse need from one another to support your children. 

Talk about your goals and outcomes as parents. Your family is changing how it looks, and it does not have to be for the worse. Laying out what each of you wants to happen is a great way to begin making a parenting plan. 

Co-parenting is a challenge, but ensuring the children have a stable life takes a backseat to your feelings. Coming up with a parenting plan that allows the children to have a relationship with both parents in the main goal. 

Prepare for the financial risks of divorcing later in life

In all honesty, there is no best or good time to divorce. Some couples decide to part ways as soon as possible, while others might prefer to wait until the children grow up and leave the home. The longer couples wait to divorce, however, the more financial risk they might face.

If the couple married decades prior, the marital property might become a tangled web. The dependent spouse might also begin to worry about how to move forward without the financial income of the breadwinner spouse. These are setbacks to consider, but couples do overcome them.

Divorce rising among older people

Divorcing when older is fairly common in America. Forbes notes that while divorce rates declined among couples from 25 to 39 years old, the opposite occurred with older couples. People over 50 saw a 109% increase in divorces. Even when couples did not at first intend to divorce, new issues can arise at this point when children leave the home and couples begin to spend more time together.

Reduction in sources of assets

Both dependent spouses and breadwinners see a reduction in how many places they can receive income from and how much, over time. Investments might grow, but high-earning nine-to-five career opportunities might become less available as people near and reach retirement. This presents a challenge even for couples with solid retirement plans.

Rethinking retiring together

The Washington Post points out that when couples first design retirement plans, they usually do so with the expectation to share expenses until the end. However, when retirement income must now support two separate households, this increases expenses exponentially.

If both parties commit to downsizing and compromising, however, they can move past these issues. Working with a financial advisor might also help couples grow their current incomes through investments to ensure they increase their chances of retiring comfortably.

Pet attachments and divorce

Many families today consider their pets treasured members of their families. From dogs and cats to birds and reptiles, humans develop strong attachments to their pets. 

When a pet-owning couple in Florida decides to get a divorce, they must figure out where the pet will live after the marriage ends. A collaborative, less adversarial approach to a divorce may facilitate this in a manner more positive than in a litigated divorce. 

An issue across the nation 

Time magazine reported on a case in which divorcing spouses in Rhode Island could not agree on who would receive custody of their dogs. The matter resulted in a battle lasting two years and making its way to the State Supreme Court where the judge handed down a shared custody order. 

Pew Trusts indicates that some states have passed legislation outlining provisions and guidance to judges with which to make pet custody determinations. The laws acknowledge pets as some form of property but not akin to inanimate objects like furniture. Instead, pets necessitate special considerations in divorce negotiations. 

Collaborative divorces and pets 

Spouses who engage in a collaborative approach to their divorce generally experience less conflict during divorce discussions. When considering their pets, they may jointly review each person’s schedule and who has the most time to devote to the pets. If one spouse works from home, for example, while the other spouse travels routinely for work, the former may provide a better environment for the pets. 

Couples with children may consider having their pets stay with the kids, moving between houses as the children do.