How to Create a Parenting Plan in Florida

Updated July 21, 2023

A parenting plan is a crucial document required during divorce proceedings in Florida to determine custody or “time-sharing” of a minor child. It lays out the parents’ arrangements for caring for their child, including decision-making rights, visitation schedules, and more. In cases where parents cannot agree, the court will issue a plan that serves the best interests of the child.

Table of Contents

  • Child Custody Factors
  • How to File for Custody in Florida
  • Custody Laws
  • Related Forms

How to File for Custody in Florida

1. Agree on a Parenting Plan

Florida law mandates that parents establish a parenting plan for the court’s review in cases involving the custody of a minor child. The court-approved forms included are:

  • Parenting Plan (Form 12.995(a)) – Suitable for general cases
  • Supervised/Safety-Focused Parenting Plan (Form 12.995(b)) – Applicable to cases involving supervised custody
  • Relocation/Long Distance Parenting Plan (Form 12.995(c)) – Suitable for cases where one or more parents relocate

2. Calculate Child Support

The amount of child support each parent must pay is determined by guidelines outlined in F.S.A § 61.30. Factors taken into account include monthly income, number of children, childcare expenses, and more. If the child remains a dependent beyond the age of 18, support will be governed by the guidelines found in F.S.A. § 61.31.

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3. Complete and File the Form

Complete the form using black ink or type it out. Both parties must sign the form in the presence of a notary public or a deputy clerk. You can file it electronically through the Florida Courts E-File Portal or submit it to the circuit court clerk in the county where the petition was filed.

4. Attend the Hearings

If both parents agree on all the terms within the parenting plan, the hearings will proceed swiftly. However, if an agreement cannot be reached or the court rejects the submitted plan, the court will establish a parenting plan that best serves the child’s interests. The judge may either request a parenting plan recommendation or appoint a guardian ad litem, a neutral party, to listen to the parents’ concerns and report back to the court.

5. Receive Court Order

The court will issue a legally binding order that either approves the submitted custody terms or establishes a new parenting plan at its own discretion. Both parents are obligated to comply with the order.

Custody Laws

  • Child’s preference: In Florida, a judge is not obligated to consider the child’s preference when determining custody.
  • Grandparent visitation rights: § 752.21
  • Mandatory parenting class: § 61.21(2)(a)
  • Parent visitation rights: § 61.13(2)(a)
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: Title 6, Chapter 61, Part II

Related Forms

Florida Custody (Parenting) Plan

Marital Settlement Agreement

Download: PDF, MS Word, ODT

Florida Custody (Parenting) Plan

Separation Agreement

Download: PDF, MS Word, ODT