Florida child custody laws require certain provisions and allocations to be listed in each child custody final order. These provisions related to the upbringing of the child, they contain rights of the child, responsibility, and timesharing allocations. However, many clients reach confusion regarding the difference between timesharing and parental responsibility. 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- applies when only one parent has the right to control all aspects of the child’s life;
2) Shared Parental Responsibility- occurs when the parents must jointly make decisions on all parenting decisions; or
3) Shared Parental Responsibility with Ultimate Responsibility- delegates certain aspects of the child’s life to be based on the discretion of one parent or grants one parent the ultimate choice for those certain areas that parent has been granted.
Due to the stark differences between these two terms there are often situations where one parent has shared parental responsibility, but has less than 50% of the timesharing. Simply having one does not equate to what would appear to be the equivalent in the other term.
While Parental Responsibility relates more to the delegation of the child’s major life decisions, timesharing on the other hand is the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Timesharing is Florida’s equivalent of child custody awards. Timesharing can vary in many regards. The specific timesharing schedule for each child and parent relationship is determined after a consideration of various statutory factors. 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 or petition the court for modifications.
It is of the utmost importance that when discussing your child parental responsibility and timesharing with your attorney that you understand the differences between the terms. For more information on your parental rights, responsibility, and timesharing contact Autumn Warner at Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. to schedule a consultation.