This is a concept that a lot of clients have trouble grasping. Under the Florida Family Law Rules these are two separate and distinct concepts. Parental responsibility involves the parents’ involvement in the major decisions in the child’s life including health care, school, child care, etc. In Florida there are three types of parental responsibility:
1) Sole Parental Responsibility- for one parent over all aspects of the child’s life;
2) Shared Parental Responsibility- where the parents jointly make decisions on all parenting decisions; or
3) Shared Parental Responsibility With Ultimate Responsibility- for one parent or the other over certain aspects of the child’s life or over all aspects, if the parents do not agree on decisions in those aspects of the child’s life.
There are often situations where one parent has shared parental responsibility but has less than 50% of the timesharing and may only see the child or children every other weekend. Timesharing on the other hand is the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Timesharing is established by submitting a parenting plan to the court that has been either agreed upon by the parties or for a judge to make a determination on. Once timesharing is ordered the parents must abide to the schedule set forth in the parenting plan unless they agree to modifications.
It is important to remember that these terms have different effects on the parent-child relationship and should be discussed with an attorney. If you need to discuss your situation with an attorney call a Florida Family Law attorney.