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Sharing custody: Partnering to parent better

When parents choose to separate or divorce, it can be the most difficult for the youngest members of the family. In order to alleviate the emotional difficulty that comes during this time of transition, some Florida parents choose to co-parent or share parenting responsibilities.

Florida no longer recognizes the terms child custody and visitation, but instead prefers parenting plan and time-sharing. The courts strive to see both fathers and mothers equally, but parents may find it best to craft their own plan outside of court in order to ensure that the final arrangement reflects the needs of the individual family.

The benefits of co-parenting or time-sharing

Children benefit when they can maintain a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce or separation. When parents are able to partner together and provide children with a continuity of lifestyle and stability, it is in the best interests of the children. Beneficial facts about co-parenting or time-sharing include:

  • Most kids want ample time with both parents after divorce or separation.
  • Children who have time with both parents do better psychologically, academically and behaviorally.
  • Time-sharing and co-parenting identifies the need for both parents to have a significant role in the lives of their kids.

Research indicates that this type of arrangement is possible even when two parents do not necessarily get along. You and your spouse do not have to be best friends or even like each other in order to commit to putting the best interests of your kids above all else. Successful co-parenting or time-sharing requires a willingness to cooperate and work together for the sake of the children.

A strong parenting plan

The foundation of any strong co-parenting arrangement is a carefully worded and thoughtful parenting plan. You have the right to craft a plan uniquely tailored to your needs, ensuring that your plan addresses all issues important to your family, including:

  • Parenting time
  • Parenting responsibilities
  • Holiday schedules
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Religious upbringing
  • Educational preferences
  • Healthcare
  • Special needs

Per the terms outlined in your parenting plan, you can be certain that you may participate fully in your child's life while protecting your rights as a parent. Generally, two parents are better equipped to raise children, even when they do not live together.

Divorce or separation may indicate the end of a romantic relationship, but that does not mean that the parenting relationship ends. By avoiding litigation and working together to craft your own co-parenting or time-sharing plan, you can have peace of mind regarding the well-being of your children in the future.

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