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Issues Regarding Parental Responsibility Laws in Florida

Issues Regarding Parental Responsibility Laws in Florida

What Does “Parental Responsibility” Mean?

The Florida courts generally rule that parents should have shared parental responsibility in cases having to do with minor children. Florida Statute 61.046(17) defines shared 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.”

Although the state of Florida and its courts believe that both parents should be equally involved in the decision making process of raising their children, there are times and situations that the court will rule that shared parental responsibility is not in the best interest of—or detrimental to—the child. In these situations, the court will rule that one parent should have sole parental responsibility of the child.

What Is “Sole Parental Responsibility?”

Florida Statute 61.046(18) defines sole parental responsibility as “a court-ordered relationship in which one parent makes decisions regarding the minor child.” The court may order sole parental responsibility in certain areas such as education, health care, religion, and any other specific responsibilities that are unique to a particular family.

For example, “Sole parental responsibility can be awarded when one parent interferes with the other’s access to the child if this award in the best interest of the child”(Compton v Compton, 701 So. 2d 110 ((Fla. 5th DCA 1997)). Sole parental responsibility stands on its own and is not affected by time-sharing in any way. “The court shall order sole parental responsibility for a minor child to one parent, with or without time-sharing with the other parent if it is in the best interest of the child.” (See Florida Statute 61.13(2)(c)2 a-b).

What Is “Shared Parental Responsibility?”

There is also a hybrid form of parental responsibility that can be awarded to the parents known as shared parental responsibility. This arrangement involves one parent having ultimate decision-making authority for their child. This means that, although both parties must confer with the other parent about certain issues, one parent can and will make the final decision if they disagree on an issue. “Even when granting shared parental responsibility, the trial court may grant one parent the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare, when it is in the best interest of the child.” (Hancock v. Hancock, 915 So. 2d 1277 ((Fla 4th DCA 2005)).

All of the above-mentioned forms of parental responsibility can be modified in the future as long as you petition it properly and show that there has been a substantial change in circumstance in which a change of parental responsibility is now in the best interest of the child.

Consult Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A. for Legal Advice

Are you going through a divorce or facing child custody proceeding? Your parental rights and responsibilities might potentially be on the line. To help determine the full extent of your legal rights and options, you should contact an experienced attorney for legal representation. At Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A., you can benefit from our legal team who has more than seven decades of collective legal experience with various legal matters, including divorce and family law cases involving child custody and parental responsibility issues. We provide personalized legal services to address the specific needs of your case.

To set up a free phone or in-person consultation, call Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A. at (239) 970-6844 or contact us online today. Se habla Español.

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