Family Law Attorneys Helping Parents Negotiate Parenting Plans in Jacksonville

family hands togetherNegotiating a shared custody arrangement or a parenting plan can be stressful for both practical and personal reasons. On the practical side, you’ll need to keep track of a large number of details, including the minutiae of your children’s schedules and the schedules of both parents. On the personal side, you may be struggling with intense feelings like anger or grief.

Here’s how to prepare to meet both sets of challenges, so you can focus on negotiating the parenting plan that best supports your kids:

Practical Considerations

Florida courts (and Florida child custody laws) place high priority on “the best interests of the child” when it comes to custody and parenting time arrangements. If an arrangement appears to be in the child’s best interests, the court is far more likely to approve it.

To create a parenting time plan that works in your child’s best interests, it’s best to come to the negotiation prepared with the information you’ll need to answer common questions that arise and to think carefully about your child’s needs. Resources to bring to the meeting may include:

  • Copies of your children’s schedules, including academic calendars, daycare or babysitting schedules, and extracurricular schedules,
  • Copies of important medical information like allergies, medication dosing schedules, doctors’ contact information, and other relevant information,
  • Copies of relevant academic paperwork, like 504 or IEP plans,
  • Your own work schedule and planner or calendar, so you can keep track of agreed-upon dates and spot potential conflicts.

Your attorney can provide additional advice on information or items to bring to parenting time negotiations based on your specific situation and your children’s unique needs.

Personal Considerations

Preparing yourself with the information you’ll need to create a parenting plan can help put you in a productive frame of mind for negotiations. To help yourself focus on creating the best plan for your children, ask yourself the following questions before the meeting:

  • What are my goals for my children?
  • What basic daily decisions (such as mealtimes, bedtimes, discipline, etc.) are essential to agree upon? How do these rules help achieve my goals for my child?
  • What do I think the consequences should be if I don’t stick to the plan? If my child’s other parent does not stick to the plan?

Your answers can help you better understand your position going into negotiations, and they can also help your lawyer understand which key points need particular attention.

Emotions can run high during parenting negotiations. If you find yourself being pulled off track by strong emotions, this “self-check” can help:

  • Am I working with the other parent to put our child’s needs first?
  • Am I really listening to what the other parent has to say before I respond to it? Do I understand where they are coming from, whether or not I agree?
  • Am I respecting the other parent’s parenting time and skills?
  • Am I offering legitimate compromises?

Contact Us Today

During a divorce, focusing on your goals and your children’s best interests can provide a measure of perspective and clarity that help you stay level-headed during a tense time. The attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. can help. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 904-288-4414 or use our online contact form to request an appointment.