A new Florida law aims to streamline parenting plans for unmarried parents.
On January 1, the state's Department of Revenue will have the authority to provide parents with a proposed Standard Parenting Time Plan.
The plan would determine, among other things, where the child will live and how parental responsibility shall be shared.
Legislators say the ultimate goal of the law is to promote contact between non-custodial parents and their children.
In the event the parents can’t agree on a plan, they would be referred to a circuit court judge in their district for the establishment of one.
"If one parent doesn't abide by the law and refuses to allow the other parent the ordered parenting time, then the parent can take it to a circuit court judge,” said Irene Sullivan, a retired family court judge. “Then they would have a hearing and a resolution of the case without having to file a petition.”
Sullivan, who now teaches at Stetson University College of Law, says parents, typically the father, would not be forced to be involved but those that want to help raise their children will have a right to do so.
"If the father is interested, then he should be awarded parenting time with the minor child, and this bill would put that into effect,” she said.
Florida already requires parents to make a parenting plan in all divorce cases when the parents have minor children.