RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”
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Parenting Plans

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Family in need of attorney

The Gainesville attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. understand that parenting plans are an essential component to nearly every child custody matter. It is important to develop a plan that is carefully worded and as inclusive as possible. In fact, the younger the child(ren) involved, the more comprehensive the plan should be. Often time, it can be difficult for parents to think in terms of longevity when creating a plan that involves a child who is very young in age. Consequently, having an experienced family law attorney to assist in the process, and advocate on your behalf, can allow for the long term stability necessary to maintain an environment that is healthy for both you and children.

What is a Parenting Plan?

Pursuant to §61.046(14) of Florida Statutes, a parenting plan is defined as:

“[…]a document created to govern the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and must contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being. In creating the plan, all circumstances between the parents, including their historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration.”

One of the most critical aspects to developing a workable parenting plan is the parents’ ability to properly assess the status of their relationship, and the manner in which such relationship may affect adherence to plan terms. In short, an effectively drafted parenting plan should serve as a means of issue resolution, as opposed to a source of conflict.

What is Parenting Coordination?

Pursuant to §61.125(1) of Florida Statutes, the purpose of parenting coordination is:

“[…]to provide a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process whereby a parenting coordinator assists the parents in creating or implementing a parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes between the parents by providing education, making recommendations, and, with the prior approval of the parents and the court, making limited decisions within the scope of the court’s order of referral.”

There are three main scenarios in which the court may appoint a parenting coordinator to guide the parties through the coordination process. The first is where the parents agree to referral. The second is where one parent requests (motions) the court for referral. The third involves referral based upon judicial authority, which allows the court to use their discretionary powers in referring the parties to parental coordination.

In cases involving a history of domestic violence, both parties must consent to coordination. Further, the court cannot order parenting coordination without the consent of both parties unless “the parties have the financial ability to pay coordination fees and costs,” or, in cases where a parent is found to be indigent (financially unable to pay), there are “public funds available to pay the indigent party’s allocation of fees and costs.” See generally, Fla. Stat. §61.125(6).

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What is the difference between a parenting coordinator and a child custody attorney?

A parenting coordinator is an impartial third party that merely assists in the process of creating and implementing a parenting plan. As such, coordinators must maintain a neutral and unbiased approach in carrying out their duties. Examples of persons that may be qualified to serve as a parenting coordinator include a mental health professional, a licensed physician, or a certified family law mediator.

In contrast, a child custody attorney protects the interests of the parent being represented. Although it is often necessary to take into consideration the desires of the other parent in developing a practicable plan, the primary concerns of a lawyer are to protect the legal rights and interests of their client, and proceed with matters in accordance with client desires.

How can a child custody attorney assist in creating a parenting plan?

While your parenting coordinator may be able to aide in plan development in accordance with standard guidelines, and in some cases also provide guidance from a mental health or psychological perspective—an attorney can assist in plan development from a legal perspective, but also in conjunction with mental, emotional, psychological and general familial considerations.

In addition to knowledge and proficiency in a family law, much of the benefit provided by a child custody attorney extends from experience gained through representing clients with similar matters. In short, the more cases that a lawyer is exposed to, the better able they are to identify issues and effectuate an appropriate resolution in an efficient manner.

The Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. have decades of combined experience. We represent clients in a wide range of child custody matters, and provide individually tailored services for a variety of purposes. Whether you need full legal representation (i.e. resolving custody issues as part of a divorce proceeding), or you need assistance on a more limited basis (i.e. review of a parenting plan), our Gainesville attorneys want to help you.

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