Parenting plans for long distance visitation

The courts of Florida parents to adhere to a detailed written parenting plan, which may also be referred to as a visitation plan, whenever the parents are living in separate homes and are going to each want to spend time with their children, which is virtually all custody and visitation cases.

Although not a required form, the courts even have a specific form they recommend for custodial parents who are going to move their children more than 50 miles from where they lived either at the time a parenting plan becomes necessary or at the time the last parenting plan was approved by a court. Ideally, parents can agree on a parenting plan and submit a signed copy with the court.

Otherwise, a parent can use the form to recommend what they would like to see to the judge, but the judge will ultimately order the parenting plan as part of the judge's decision on visitation.

Interestingly, Florida gives parents who live a good distance from each other considerable flexibility in establishing their parenting plan. In other words, the form parenting plan has no guarantee that a non-custodial parent will get to see their kids for half of the summer break or half of Christmas. Much of those decisions are left to the individual couple, although, presumably, a non-custodial parent who, through no fault of his or her own, lives at a distance from his or her kids should not lose parenting time with his or her children on that account alone.

When two parents lives a good distance from each other, it adds practical problems to coming up with a visitation schedule that is in the best interests of the children. Sometimes, the assistance of an experienced Orange County attorney is necessary to help couples with ties to Orlando figure out how to proceed in such cases.

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