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Forming Orlando Parenting Plans Designed For Toddlers And Preschoolers


Divorce is often the hardest experience a person can go through, but it is only amplified when young children, infants and toddlers are involved. A traditional split week custody arrangement is not conducive to a young child’s needs, especially if they are still breastfed or in diapers. Small children thrive on consistency and being forced to rotate between homes multiple times a week can be detrimental to their physical, cognitive and emotional development. How can divorced or separated parents develop a parenting plan that best reflects their child’s needs in Orange County ?

Consider a “Step-Up” Plan

Step-up reunification is a plan designed to facilitate the custody transition for young children. Because infants and toddlers thrive on consistency and need to limit distractions to optimize cognitive development, traditional split-week custody arrangements are usually not feasible. This is especially true for toddlers and preschoolers. A step-up plan allows the toddler or preschooler to slowly become acquainted with the non-custodial parent over a prolonged period, often in the presence of the custodial parent.

When the child becomes more comfortable with the parent, their time together can increase, eventually up to a traditional split week, 2-3-2 or 4-3 arrangement if feasible. Flexibility is key. Small children may not fully understand what is happening or why. Preschoolers may even internalize or blame themselves for why mommy and daddy or fighting. They might act out or regress developmentally. That is why it is crucial for parents to consider a child’s physical, emotional and mental needs before they decide on a plan simply out of convenience.

Seek a Modification if Necessary

Florida family courts use the child’s best interest standard to make custody and child support decisions. Family court judges will review a parent’s previous habits and level of involvement, including past history of drug abuse or child abuse when rendering a decision. Maybe one parent has reason to believe the other parent is unfit or unresponsible, perhaps due to past unsafe behavior or criminal history. These concerns should be made during a hearing or settlement conference discussing what custody arrangement is appropriate. If a split custody arrangement was agreed upon, but new, alarming behavior gives you cause for concern, you should request an emergency hearing to modify custody. Attorney Steve Marsee is available to help you identify the strategy that works best for you and your children.

Call Orlando Child Custody Attorney Steve Marsee

Becoming a parent is a life-changing transition, and it is not easy. A divorce or separation can be especially trying for young children, infants and toddlers. It is crucial to keep your child’s needs in mind when discussing a parenting plan and custody schedule with your spouse. Orlando family lawyer Steve Marsee can help you identify a plan that works. Call today to schedule a consultation.



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