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Five Issues Same Sex Couples Should Address In Florida Parenting Plans


Devising a parenting and time sharing plan that works can be difficult for any couple, but there are unique issues which should be addressed in cases involving same sex couples and divorce.  While Florida has come a long way in advancing LGBT rights, other areas of the nation still lag behind. A court order is often the most effective tool in enforcing your rights as a parent, and paying close attention to key elements within your parenting plan can help ensure that both you and your family are protected.

The Importance of A Parenting Plan

Under Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes, time sharing arrangements in which both parents share in the joys and responsibilities of parenting children are favored over awarding one sole custody and another visitation. These arrangements are generally based on parenting plans, in which both parties agree on certain terms related to parental responsibility and decision making.

In cases where the parents cannot agree, the judge will issue a ruling based on the evidence presented. Through negotiations with their attorneys, every effort should be made to avoid this situation. In addition to saving both time and money, negotiating differences in your parenting plan ensures you have greater control over potential decision a judge could making concerning the care and wellbeing of your children.

Parenting Plan Issues For Same Sex Couples

Agreements reached in Florida parenting plans will be reflected in the final order issued by the judge in the matter. As a June 2017 New York Times article reports, this order is particularly important in cases involving same sex parents, where their legal rights vary from state to state.  In cases where a certain jurisdiction does not recognize the rights of these parents, your order may be the only protection you and your children have. Issues which are particularly important to address as part of your parenting plan so they appear in your order include:

  1. Parental responsibility: By agreeing to shared parental responsibility in making major decisions concerning their child’s physical, emotional, and developmental well being, this provides each parent with legal rights, regardless of what state they are in.
  2. Information sharing: This ensures both have legal access to any school, medical, and government records, and authorizes both to be listed as contacts in the event of an emergency.
  3. Travel arrangements: This protects each parent individually, by ensuring they agree on and authorize any trips made either within or outside of the country.
  4. Relocations: This protects both parents against the other relocating to another area without prior consent, particularly if the move is made somewhere that same sex parenting rights are not supported.
  5. Modifications and conflict resolution: This allows for minor changes in scheduling as it suits the family’s needs, while providing specific strategies for resolving larger conflicts without having to go to court.

If you are in a same sex relationship and want to know more about how to protect your rights as a parent, call or contact Hancock & Associates, to request a consultation in our Orlando or Tampa office. Our experienced same sex divorce attorneys will be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.


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