Shared Parental Responsibility

You may have heard the term "shared parental responsibility" when it comes to child custody. This doctrine means that each parent keeps full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to the child and both parents must communicate with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly. Examples of decisions that are typically subject to shared parental responsibility include decisions concerning the child's daycare, healthcare, school, education, summer camps, and activities.  A Florida family law attorney would explain that many courts take the view that day-to-day decisions, such as bedtimes, diet, exercise, clothing, and choice of friends, are not subject to shared parental responsibility in normal cases. 

Extreme circumstances regarding certain day-to-day decisions may justify a court getting involved.  Courts frequently take differing views regarding religion, allowing each parent to expose a child to the parent's own religion during that parent's time-sharing.  If a particular type of decision is important to a parent, be sure to include that decision in the parenting plan as one that must be shared by the parents, or conversely be certain that either parent can make the decision during his or her time-sharing.

 In Florida, it is public policy that parents have shared parental responsibility.  A court, when determining parental responsibility for the child, will not have a certain presumption for the mother or father.  The days of courts granting primary decision-making to mothers simply because they are mothers are long-gone.  The court will take many factors into consideration.  The primary factor is always the best interest of the child. 

It is relatively rare for a court to grant sole parental responsibility to either parent.  The court must find that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.  Frequently, conduct that one parent may consider immoral, harmful, or inappropriate, does not meet the objective standard of being a detriment to the child.  The courts consider the child's relationship with both parents of great importance.

If you need a Lakeland divorce lawyer or Polk County family law attorney, get someone with experience by your side. Contact Heather Bryan Law at 863-825-5309 for your consultation.