It is the experience of our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. that when parents who are going through a divorce or paternity case want what is best for their children, drafting a fair Parenting Plan at mediation is so much easier as opposed to when the parents are involved in a very contested custody battle.

Often, unrepresented parties don’t understand that in Florida cases involving time-sharing with minor children, Florida Statute § 61.13 requires that a “Parenting Plan” must be entered by the court. In addition, there are three different standard “Parenting Plan” formats depending on the parties’ circumstances that have been approved by the Florida Supreme Court and can be found in Florida Family Forms 12.995(a) Basic Parenting Plan, (b) Supervised/Safety Focused Parenting Plan or (c) Long Distance Parenting Plan.

When creating a parenting plan, it is important to make sure that both parents are placed in a position where they are able to maintain a fulfilling relationship with their children and hopefully, one that over the course of time does not require any future intervention by a Florida Family Law Court. Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. understand that the clarity of the terms contained in the parties “Parenting Plan” is important in helping to keep the parties out of the Family Law Court on future Supplemental Petitions for Modification and/or Motions for Contempt and Enforcement proceedings.

In addition, when both parents have agreed and understand their timesharing schedules and parenting rights; it is Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc.’s experience that they are more likely to have much fewer future conflicts. This is especially true when the parents both agree ahead of time how they intend to resolve conflicts that may arise in the future. Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators have found that one of the major issues that can arise in the future is extracurricular activities as the children become older. When a child participates in high school sports; or competitive sports such as soccer or tennis to name a couple – the practice schedules and/or travel demands can negatively impact one or both parents’ timesharing schedules so these types of issues should be addressed.

A well-drafted Parenting Plan should contain express provisions about how the parents speak to each other regarding important parenting issues, recognizing that many parents don’t have any desire to speak with each other once their case is final. But our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators believe that it can be productive for the parties’ children if their parents have a set time on either a weekly or biweekly basis where they can discuss what is going on in their children’s lives. While good communication makes conflicts easier to resolve, if the parents are unable to speak with each other in a civil manner, then the Parenting Plan should provide that they communicate with each other through emails and text messages.

Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. fully understands that every Florida Family Law Parenting Plan is required to be drafted with the best interest of the children as the primary consideration. In our experience, that can be achieved when the two parties put aside their own personal differences and are mainly concerned with the needs of their children.

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