Shared Parental Responsibility


Shared Parental Responsibility

Beginning in 2008, the state of Florida moved away from a system of determining one parent to be the “primary” parent and the other to be the “secondary” parent, with that secondary parent merely visiting with their child rather than parenting them. The parties, or the Courts, if necessary, now put in place a Parenting Plan and timesharing agreement. Under these plans and agreements, parents are provided with various types of parental authority regarding their rights to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care, after-school activities, and other decisions about their upbringing. The timesharing agreement establishes the time each parent spends physically caring for their children. The timesharing arrangements can vary from 50/50 percent, 60/40, or some other percentage of timesharing to one or the other parent having majority timesharing, depending upon the facts of the case. Florida courts may modify shared parenting time agreements to place certain restrictions on one parent’s rights to make decisions about their child, or they may place conditions on a parent’s interactions with the child. For example, if one parent has consistently refused to take their child to necessary medical appointments or after-school activities that the court determines to be in the child’s best interests, the court may grant sole parental responsibility on the issue of medical care or after-school activities to the other parent only. In another scenario, a court may dictate that a parent cannot have parenting time with their child until they submit to mental health screening.

Sole Parental Responsibility:

In very rare cases, the Court will award one parent sole parental responsibility. In this instance, the Court will grant one parent the authority to make all legal decisions on that child’s behalf. Sole parental responsibility is unusual, as the Court wants both parents involved in the child’s life and decision making but, when it is detrimental for the child for the parents to have shared parental responsibility, the Court can aware one parent sole parental responsibility. In these cases, the amount of timesharing the problem parent is awarded can vary from supervised timesharing to a more normal but limited timesharing schedule.

Help with Your Children’s Issues:

If you face a situation where parental responsibility or timesharing is going to be an issue in Duval, Nassau, or Clay County, you want to trust that the court will make a decision that best provides for the safety and emotional well-being of your children. Having the right attorney on your side during these disputes can make all the difference. At The Law Office of Christopher C. Calhoun has experience in marital and family law and have advocated on behalf of concerned parents who wish to establish or maintain a healthy relationship with their children. I understand how critical the outcome is for both you and your children, and I will fight hard on your behalf.