What is Shared Parental Responsibility?

It is the public policy of Florida to ensure each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or divorced and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing. The court gives both parties the same consideration in determining parental responsibility and time-sharing, regardless of the child’s age or gender.

Usually, parental responsibility for a minor child will be shared by both parents so that each retains full parental rights and responsibilities regarding their child. Shared parenting requires both parents to confer so major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly. You and your spouse may agree, or the court may order, that one parent have the ultimate responsibility over aspects of the child’s welfare, such as education, religion, or medical and dental needs. The court will determine any or all parenting issues if the parties cannot agree but the Court will not micromanage your post-divorce or post-paternity relationship.

In very rare cases, the court can order sole parental responsibility to one parent. To do so, the court must determine that shared parental responsibility would cause harm to the child. 

In determining parental responsibility, the court will approve or devise its own a parenting plan that includes responsibility for the daily tasks of child rearing, the time-sharing schedule, and decision-making authority relating to health care, school, and related activities. The plan will also specify any technology used for parent-child communication. The parents may agree on a parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval or the court will determine these issues. The statute includes a list of factors for the court to consider in making these decisions.

The courts use the Best Interests of the Child Standard when considering parental issues.

Florida law requires both parties to attend a parenting course prior to entering a final divorce. 


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