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What is Shared Parental Responsibility in Family Law?

family law parental responsibility

In Florida when a family law attorney is assisting his client in developing a parenting plan that will govern the time-sharing over the children involved in the case one of the main items that will need to be addressed as that of parental responsibility.

Parental responsibility is a portion of Florida family law that many parties and even some lawyers have a difficult time understanding. Some people believe that shared parental responsibility is somehow related to having an equal custody schedule, however, this has virtually nothing to do with someone’s specific time-sharing schedule with the children.

Parental responsibility describes the legal status of the decision-making authority over the children until they reach the age of 18. In most cases, the parties will be awarded shared parental responsibility which means that they will have the equal legal authority to make decisions related to the health & educational welfare of the child.

Shared parental responsibility also affords both parents an equal right to have equal say in major decisions related to the minor children. One very common example of such a decision is where a parent wishes to change the school of attendance of the children involved in the case. Under shared parental responsibility, that parent would need to discuss the proposed change with the other parent and if they are not able to agree then the parent requesting a change would need to file a motion and involve the courts in that decision.

Aside from shared parental responsibility, there are two other types of parental responsibility which are sole parental responsibility and shared parental responsibility with one parent having ultimate decision-making authority.

Sole parental responsibility is quite rare because pursuant to Florida law a parent requesting sole parental responsibility must prove that it would be detrimental to the minor child if the court were to order shared parental responsibility.

This is an extraordinarily high burden to meet since it would only be in the most severe of circumstances where it would be detrimental to a child for both parents to have some decision-making authority.

The third and final type of parental responsibility is called shared responsibility with final decision-making authority.

This type of responsibility is essentially the same as regular shared parenting which requires the parents to confer an attempt to agree on major decisions related to the child. However, under this type of responsibility if the parties are not able to reach an agreement on the decision then the parent who has final decision-making authority would be able to move forward with their decision over the objection of the other parent.

This type of responsibility is also somewhat rare because it is often abused by the parent who is granted the final say. Many family law attorneys and judges believe that shared parenting with final decision-making authority is basically the same thing as sole parental responsibility but just wrapped up in a prettier package.

If you are going through a family law issue in Orlando Florida such as child custody, child support, paternity establishment, or divorce then you will need the guidance of an experienced Orlando family law attorney.

This is because statute, case law, and procedures for family law litigation are very complex and anyone who tries to go It alone will often undergo great amounts of stress trying to figure their way through the process and often time need to hire family lawyers in the end to fix messes caused by lack of knowledge of the procedures.

Contact the law offices of Sean Smallwood PA today to discuss your family law case with an experienced lawyer today.


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