Nothing in a divorce is more important, difficult or complex than issues regarding parental responsibility and time sharing. We help parents develop workable arrangements and plans that meet their children’s needs, and fit the families’ goals and objectives.
Florida no longer uses terminology such as “custodial” or "secondary" parent, “visitation” or “primary residential parent.” What used to be discussed and treated as the concepts of “custody” and “visitation” are now referred to as parental responsibility and time-sharing.
Parental responsibility constitutes the decision-making process that parents undertake with regard to major aspects of their child(ren)’s lives. These include what schools to attend, who their doctor will be, and religion issues. There are three types of “parental responsibility”. There is “shared parental responsibility” which is the preferred form of parental responsibility as it requires both parents to discuss and jointly agree upon major decisions for the child(ren). Unfortunately, sometimes parents cannot agree. Florida Statutes and case law provides for shared parental responsibility but with one parent having ultimate responsibility or decision-making authority over certain aspects or issues such as medical, education, and travel related issues. Ultimate decision making authority is typically granted where one parent is uncooperative and will never agree just because, is difficult, exercises poor judgment concerning the child(ren), among other reasons. The third type of parental responsibility is “sole parental responsibility” which is the least preferred and is generally not granted. It allows one parent to make all the decisions without the need to consult with the other parent. Sole parental responsibility is granted to a parent only in extreme and extraordinary situations.
With regard to time-sharing, such is the new terminology for what used to be “visitation” and involves the aspect of “custody” which is who the child(ren) is with at a particular time. There are numerous factors in the statute as well as case law for the court to consider in determining both parental responsibility and time-sharing all of which essentially are controlled by what the court considers to be in the best interests of the child(ren). The child(ren)’s best interests is the ultimate decider in any child-related determination. Although there is currently no judicially or statutorily sanctioned presumption for equal timesharing, there seems to be a trend in that direction by the courts. Here at Barbra Amron Weisberg, P.A., we are experienced with the judicial trends, the statutory requirements, and in helping you determine what type of timesharing plan and arrangement would be best for you in your circumstances.
expenses if the parties, for example, live in different states, sometimes tutoring expenses, etc.
Moreover, pursuant to the child support guidelines, there is an adjustment to be made in the amount owing each month for the amount of timesharing the payor parent has with the minor child(ren). The concept and reasoning for such is salient. For example, a parent having the child(ren) sixty percent of the time would incur less expense generally for the child(ren) than a parent having the child(ren) eighty percent of the time. Conversely, a parent having the child(ren) forty percent of the time would pay more for and on account of the child(ren)’s living expenses than a parent having the child(ren) only twenty percent of the time. Child support guidelines make adjustments for such situations and considerations.
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