If you have a child outside of wedlock in Florida, you may wonder what happens when you are the other parent separate. Who gets custody of your child? How do you develop a visitation schedule? If you were getting a divorce, then these things are pretty straightforward and handled through that legal process. When there is no legal separation in your relationship, what happens?

Under the law, according to WUSF, you have the right to go through a formal process of setting up a parenting plan as of 2018. Ideally, you and the other parent will agree to the terms of the plan and work together to create it. If you cannot agree, then a circuit court judge handles your case. Either way, this is a legal process that creates a legal document or agreement.

The plan is binding. You must follow what it says or face possible legal penalties. It provides a clear layout of visitation times and custody. Creating a parenting plan ensures both parents are part of a child’s life. It also helps reduce issues and problems associated with custody.

Parenting plans are a normal part of a divorce case, but the new law makes them common for all custody situations regardless of the marital status of the parents. It is a good step forward since many custody issues can arise when parents are not married and do not have a solid parenting plan outlining custody and visitation. This information is for education and is not legal advice.