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What is a Florida parenting time plan?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Child Custody

When a child’s parents are no longer romantically linked, Florida law insists that they formalize their child support arrangements. Since 2018, the state’s Child Support Program has integrated the use of parenting time plans (PTPs) into most of the state’s orders establishing paternity, establishing support and modifying existing support orders. 

This means that if you and your child’s other parent need to establish paternity, establish child support or modify child support, you’ll need to complete a parenting time plan as well. This requirement generally applies to anyone who is establishing a child custody arrangement as well, as child support orders must be drafted as part of that process. 

This requirement may be waived if the affected child’s home state isn’t Florida, one of the child’s parents is incarcerated, one of the child’s parents doesn’t live in Florida or some other exception to this mandate applies to an individual family’s circumstances. 

PTP initiation after support or paternity orders are entered

Florida provides parents with a standard parenting time plan form to be filled out and signed. Once this form is processed by the court, it becomes a legally enforceable element of a child’s paternity, custody and/or support order. 

This means it can only be modified via the express authorization of the court. Within this document, co-parents must detail the time that the affected child is going to spend with each parent, including overnights and holidays. 

It should be noted that there are some exceptions to the general rule that a PTP must be put into place after an order of paternity and/or support is established. For example, the standard PTP form provided by the state may not be issued to nor used by families who have concerns about family or domestic violence. 

Whatever your situation, working out a parenting plan that makes sense for your family – whether it’s the first time or through a modification – can be tricky. Experienced guidance can help you better understand your legal options.