In an effort to reform the way custody is handled in Florida, outdated terms have since been done away with and are replaced by more human ones. Custody is now referred to as 'parental responsibility' and 'time-sharing.' Parents are required to follow a time-sharing schedule that determines when they see and spend time with their children.
In other states, parents are awarded sole or joint physical custody and sole or joint legal custody. These terms refer to where the child spends their time and who makes major life decisions for the child. Florida, however, does things a bit differently.
A parenting plan is a document set up by the parents which lays out the roles of each parent as they relate to decision-making abilities. If the parents cannot create their own schedule, the court will do it for them. To best serve the child, a court will first consider the health of both parents, their relationships with the child, and any financial obligations.
How is parental responsibility decided on?
Parental responsibility, the ability to make decisions for the child, is typically shared, as long as it is in the best interests of the child. If there is any history of abuse, the court will instead assign sole parental responsibility. Decisions about education, healthcare, and religion are all affected by parental responsibility.
When parental responsibility is shared, both parents are expected to work together to make joint decisions for the child. Parents who can maintain an amicable relationship even after the divorce will do much to benefit their child.
What is a time-sharing schedule?
This schedule dictates how much time each parent gets to spend with the child throughout the year. The court encourages parents to create one together, but an inability to do so will require that the court steps in.
A time-sharing schedule should include all of the following:
- Weekdays and weekends
- All major holidays
- School vacations, such as summer and winter break
- Transportation arrangements
Again, any incriminating factors against one parent will be taken into account before a time-sharing schedule is finalized. Domestic violence or other forms of abuse can impact how much time one parent gets to spend with their child.
If you are in need of personal counsel from a compassionate and dedicated Fort Myers family law attorney, contact our firm. We would be happy to represent you during what can be a challenging time!