Technology & Family Law: Parenting Plans and Electronic Filing

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, there are many things that you should consider.  The most important aspect that you should think about is child custody and time sharing.  In Florida, courts require a Parenting Plan in all cases involving time sharing with minor children.  This is true even if the couple agrees on time sharing before the divorce.

A Parenting Plan lays out the agreement between two parents regarding child custody, child support, visitation and other important issues.  Both parents must agree to the Plan.  If both parties cannot agree to the terms of the plan, the court may impose a plan.  You can see the Florida form for Parenting Plans here.

Parenting Plans and Technology

Just a few years ago, may people would have said that custody and time sharing only included times where the parent was physically with the child;  however, today Parenting Plans can include electronic communication such as talking over the phone.  If so ordered, the court considers various factors to determine whether court ordered electronic communication between a parent and child is appropriate.  These factors include whether such communication is in the child’s best interest, availability of technology, and whether such technology is accessible and affordable.   Other factors include both parents’ histories and other factors the court feels are relevant.

Electronic communication orders may be even more important in international divorce cases where one spouse moves abroad.

Electronic Filing and Service of Process for petitions, pleadings, and papers

The availability of technology has had a major impact on legal matters.  The Florida Rules of Judicial Administration now require most petitions, pleadings, and other documents to filed electronically.  If you are self-represented, however, you are not required to file electronically.  Similarly, email may also be used for service of process; however, we strongly recommend that you consult an attorney before doing so.

In you are considering a divorce and have questions about Parenting Plans or filing of paperwork, please contact an experienced attorney.  Our seasoned attorneys look forward to assisting you.

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