What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is required in all cases involving minor children. The Parenting Plan must be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by the Court. If the parents cannot agree to a Parenting Plan or if the parents agreed to a plan that is not approved by the Court, a Parenting Plan will be established by the Court with or without the use of parenting plan recommendations. Both Florida and Tennessee have forms to use in the development of a Parenting Plan.
What is included in a Parenting Plan?
Every family is unique, and the Parenting Plan should include provisions that address the family’s needs.
A Parenting Plan must include a schedule stating when the child(ren) will spend time with each parent. The schedule sets out the Day-To-Day Schedule during the Weekday and Weekend along with the Holiday Schedule. Also included are transportation arrangements. Once a Parenting Plan has been approved by the Court, the parents may change the schedule upon agreement. But, if they cannot agree, then the Parenting Plan is the established schedule to follow.
Also included in the Parenting Plan is which parent has authority to make decisions regarding the child(ren). Specifically, regarding education, non-emergency health care and other decisions relevant to the family. Whether a parent has the authority to make a decision unilaterally or whether the decision must be shared or joint.
Which parent the child(ren) will reside with the majority of the time, which is required for purposes of any other applicable state and federal laws. This designation does not affect either parent’s rights and responsibilities under the Parenting Plan.
Other examples that are unique to each family, and should be included in the Parenting Plan are: out-of-state and foreign travel; access to the child(ren) via phone, text or other electronic communication; choice of childcare; and, extra-curricular activities.
Tennessee’s Child Support Laws
As with Parenting Plan, child support is designed to benefit the child. Tennessee child support guidelines are based on each parent’s monthly gross income, but credit for in-home children and not-in-home children is taken into account. Additional expenses considered include the child(ren)’s health insurance premium, recurring uninsured medical expenses and work-related childcare. The number of nights per week the child(ren) spend with each parent is also included when determining the support obligation.
While both parents share financial responsibility for supporting their child’s care under Tennessee law, one parent will often be required to pay child support to the other parent. The basic child support obligation (BCSO) determines the minimum amount needed to support a child based on both parents’ income. The party named Primary Residential Parent (PRP) receives child support while the Alternate Residential Parent (ARP) pays child support.
Florida’s Child Support Laws
Florida child support guidelines are based on each parent’s monthly net income, which is reflected in their Family Law Financial Affidavit. Also included in the base child support obligation is the cost of the child’s health insurance, childcare expense and monthly noncovered medical, dental or prescription costs.
Each parent’s financial responsibility is calculated based on the information that is gathered. If the child spends at least 20% of the overnights in the year with a parent, then the Gross Up Method is used to calculate child support, which may reduce the amount of child support owed. Each parent has the legal responsibility to support their child financially. However, you should not pay more in child support payments than required by law. Hiring an experienced child support attorney ensures that you are treated fairly under the law in your state.