Meriwether & Tharp ranked as one of the nation's fastest growing private companies for the 2nd Year in a row by Inc. 5000!!

Thanks for printing!  Don't forget to come back to Meriwether & Tharp, LLC for fresh articles!

Types of Parental Responsibility

There are three types of Parental responsibility plans in an Orlando or Tampa Florida divorce, (1) Shared Parental Responsibility, (2) Shared Parental Responsibility with Decision Making Authority and (3) Sole Parental Responsibility.

Shared Parental Responsibility

Shared parental responsibility is where both parents confer and jointly make all major decisions affecting the welfare of the child/children. In this scenario, both parents must be able to work together and come to agreement. Both parents will consider the options together and come to an agreement on decisions regarding the child/children’s education, non-emergency healthcare, and other responsibilities that may be unique to this particular family.

It is important to note that in every case, the court will order that the parental responsibility for the child/children be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. Fla. Stat. § 61.13(2)(c).

Shared Parental Responsibility: Breaking the Presumption – Domestic Violence

As mentioned above, the court will presume that shared parental responsibility should be ordered unless shared parental responsibility is found to be detrimental to the child.

Evidence that a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence, creates a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child. Essentially, if a parent is convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence, the court will presume that there is a detriment to the child and will not order shared parental responsibility. The convicted parent will have the opportunity to present evidence that they are not a detriment to the child and rebut the presumption. However, if the presumption is not rebutted after the convicted parent is advised by the court that the presumption exists, shared parental responsibility, including time-sharing with the child, and decisions made regarding the child, may not be granted to the convicted parent.

Notwithstanding, it should be noted that the convicted parent is not relieved of any obligation to provide financial support. If the court determines that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child, it may order sole parental responsibility and make such arrangements for time-sharing as specified in the parenting plan as will best protect the child or abused spouse from further harm. Whether or not there is a conviction of any offense of domestic violence or child abuse or the existence of an injunction for protection against domestic violence, the court shall consider evidence of domestic violence or child abuse as evidence of detriment to the child.

Shared Parental Responsibility with Decision Making Authority

Shared parental responsibility with decision making authority is where both parents must first confer and attempt to agree on major decisions involving the child/children. If the parents are unable to agree, a final decision will be made by the parent that has final decision making authority for that particular area of decision making.

Shared parental responsibility with decision making authority must be specified in the parenting plan. Typically the parenting plan will list whether the mother or the father has final decision making authority for education/academic decisions, non-emergency health care, and any other areas listed out that are unique to the particular family. Decision making may be split between the parents. For example, the father may have final decision making authority regarding non-emergency health care and the mother may have final decision making authority regarding education/academics.

 Practice Pointer - Joint Decisions

It is important to remember that in a shared parental responsibility with decision making authority scenario the parents must first attempt to confer and jointly agree on the decision. It is only after the parents cannot agree that the final decision maker will exercise their authority.

Sole Parental Responsibility

Sole parental responsibility is where one parent has the sole authority to make final decisions regarding major decisions for the child/children. Sole parental responsibly must be in the best interests of the children. Sole parental responsibly is typically only ordered where it can be shown that shared parental responsibility would be somehow detrimental to the child/children.

Day-to-Day Decisions

Unless it is otherwise specified in the parenting plan, each parent shall make decisions regarding day-to-day care and control of each child while the child is with that particular parent. Regardless of how parental responsibility and decision making is allocated, either parent may make emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of the child/children when the child is residing with that parent. However, a parent who makes an emergency decision must share that decision with the other parent as soon as possible. 

Locations

Primary Office Locations

By Appointment Only

Contact M&T Today

We can help with all your questions...