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Co-parenting in Florida: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Custody and Parental Rights in Florida

Co-parenting in Florida is when parents are no longer in a relationship, but take joint responsibility for the care and well-being of their child or children. The type of legal custody and parental rights that parents have can be agreed upon by the parents, allocated by a court, or modified by court order. Custody in Florida is guided by Florida Statutes 61.13, which defines each type of custody as “legal” or “physical." Legal custody is the right to make decisions about the child's medical care, education, and religious upbringing, while physical custody is the right to the physical care and daily decisions for the child.


Parenting Plans in Florida

While the parents can agree to or come up with their own plans regarding the custody and parenting of their children, it is important to have a formalized parenting plan in place. According to Florida Statute 61.13, a parenting plan must include: the allocation of parental responsibilities, a proposed schedule of time-sharing with the children, a residential schedule for the children, provisions for the exchange of the children, and the designation of a parent who will be the parent responsible for providing health insurance coverage. The parenting plan should also include information regarding the visitation rights of each parent.


Visitation Rights in Florida

Visitation rights in Florida can vary based on the type of parent-child relationship. Primary residential parents have the right to establish reasonable visitation by the non-residential parent when such visitation does not interfere with the child’s best interest. The parent who does not have custody must also set limits for visitation, such as days and times of visitation and the location of visitation.


Child Support and Co-Parenting Expenses in Florida

In most cases, child support is ordered and paid by the parent who does not have custody or visitation rights. According to Florida Statute 61.30, child support payments must be paid to the primary residential parent and must be based on the income of the parents. In some cases, both parents may be responsible for other expenses related to the care, welfare, and upbringing of the child, such as healthcare and educational costs. These expenses can be divided between the parents according to their available incomes and liability as co-parents. Parents may decide to agree to this on their own or seek out mediation services to have the terms set and managed.


Mediation Services in Florida

Mediation services, as defined by the Florida Statutes 61.21, are services provided by a qualified mediator to assist the parties to a family law dispute in resolving all or part of their dispute. This can be accomplished through a negotiated settlement or a court-ordered parenting plan. Mediators are certified family law professionals who are trained to identify the needs of each party in a child custody, child support, or parenting timetables dispute, and to help each party come to a resolution that is beneficial to everyone involved. In Florida, parents may be court-ordered to attend mediation services in certain situations. For example, parents who have been unable to resolve their dispute by themselves or who want to avoid court-ordered decisions may be ordered to participate in mediation. Mediation services can help both parents reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial, protects the best interests of the child, and saves time and money.


Decisions, Parenting Plans, and Visitation Rights in Florida

Decisions regarding the custody, visitation rights, and parental responsibilities of co-parents are in the best interests of the child. Decisions should be made with the intention of allowing the child to have time with both of their parents, while giving both parents equal rights to make decisions. In Florida, the court usually requires both parents to come to an agreement on the parenting plan in order to avoid court-ordered decisions and ensure that the child's needs are met. When parents are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement, the court may mediate, decide on a parenting plan, or award joint parental responsibilities. The court will consider each parent’s input and evidence of the child’s best interests when making a decision about the parenting plan. The court will also consider the parent’s abilities to provide for the child's needs, such as a safe and caring home environment.



Co-parenting in Florida can be a complicated process that requires both parties to understand their parental rights and responsibilities. It is important to have a formalized parenting plan in place that outlines the custodial rights, parental responsibilities, co-parenting expenses, and visitation rights of both parents. In many cases, parents can work together to come to an agreement, but if they are unable to do so the court may intervene and mediate the dispute. Ultimately, the decision made should always be in the best interest of the child.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:




Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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