No two families have the exact same needs. It is important to honor your family’s unique needs when determining how your child custody arrangement will be structured in the wake of a romantic split with your child’s other parent.
There are two primary considerations that must be contemplated when determining child custody arrangements:
- Sole vs. joint custody: Will both you and your child’s other parent remain actively involved in your child’s life? If so, you will likely have a joint custody arrangement.
- Legal vs. physical custody: If both parents are going to make important decisions about your child’s welfare, you’ll share legal custody. If both parents will regularly have your child reside with them, you’ll likely share joint physical custody as well.
Nowadays, joint legal and physical custody arrangements are very common. However, an alternative arrangement can be agreed upon by both parents or ordered by the court, depending on a child’s unique needs and a family’s unique circumstances.
Parenting plan considerations
In Florida, co-parenting relationships are generally subject to the legally-enforceable terms of a parenting plan. If you have a parenting plan, it will serve as part of your broader child custody order. This document will govern how your co-parenting arrangement will operate. You can use this document to set up a schedule for when your child will be with each parent, to clarify co-parenting responsibilities and to address other important co-parenting concerns.
When crafting your parenting plan, you’ll want terms that provide structure but are also flexible enough to accommodate the fact that “life happens.” Don’t feel like your family needs to mirror any other family’s arrangements. Your approach should honor the best interests of your child while remaining truly manageable for you and your co-parent.
By carefully considering which arrangement will work best for all involved, you’ll better ensure that your approach is successful.