On a typical first visit to a divorce attorney, a parent often wants to talk primarily about which parent “gets the kids”. This is no longer correct thinking under current Florida divorce law. As discussed in a recent blog, the terms “custody” and “visitation” have been removed from the Florida divorce statutes. It is now public policy that both parents “enjoy the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.” Parental responsibility and time-sharing have replaced outdated concepts of “custody” and “visitation”.
Parental responsibility covers the scope of each parent’s decision making responsibility for the children. In shared parental responsibility, parents are expected to discuss and make joint decisions about child related issues like education, religion, health care and extracurricular activities. When divorced parents are able to maintain this level of amicable communication about the well being of their children, shared parenting responsibility is ideal.
Not all divorced parents work well with joint decision making or shared parental responsibility. For parents who can agree on virtually nothing, sole parental responsibility may be the better outcome. Sole parental responsibility means only one parent is making all of the decisions about the children. This is an outcome that can be avoided by parents learning to put their personal differences aside and work together where their children’s interests are at stake.
Sometimes divorced parents have a single hotspot issue of disagreement, but can work jointly in other areas of decision making for their children. Religion or school choice are common areas of highly polarized disagreements between divorced parents. Shared parental responsibility with ultimate decision making authority as to the single hotspot issue can provide a happy medium between shared parental responsibility and sole parenting responsibility in these cases.
To learn more about the allocation of parental responsibilities under Florida divorce law, consult with a highly experienced family law attorney, the Law Office of Jeanne Coleman. Jeanne has practiced family law for over 25 years in the Tampa Bay community and is extremely knowledgeable about child related issues in divorce and post-divorce actions. Jeanne offers a free 20 minute consultation that can help you understand parental responsibility issues.