By: Jeffrey R. Nuckols, Esq.
In an earlier post, I wrote about child custody and time sharing. Another subject that parents might discuss related to the concept of child custody is which parent will be responsible for a child’s care or which parent will have decision making authority for important facets of a child’s life like medical care decisions.
When I wrote about time sharing, I mentioned my idea that the concept of time sharing is a way for us to separate the time aspect of child custody from the decision making aspect of child custody. Now let’s talk a briefly about that decision making aspect, or the shared parental responsibility part of a parenting plan.
Florida law provides for shared parental responsibility. Fla. Stat. 61.046(17) (2013) defines shared parental responsibility as “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.” Sole parental responsibility, which might have been associated with the old terminology of sole custody, means “a court-ordered relationship in which one parent makes decisions regarding the minor child.” See Fla. Stat. 61.046(18) (2013). Fla. Stat. 61.13(2)(c)(2) (2013) reads in part “[t]he court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.” So one might say that shared parental responsibility is the default state. Notice in Fla. Stat. 61.13(2)(c)(2)(a) (2013) that “[i]n ordering shared parental responsibility, the court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare or may divide those responsibilities between the parties based on the best interests of the child.” So it is possible that the parents may agree that one parent or the other would have full responsibility for some areas of the child’s life, and a court might approve of that division of parental responsibilities.
Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions about your particular situation please do not hesitate to contact Jeffrey R. Nuckols at (321) 329-5449 ext. 2 for a free telephone consultation.