Child Custody

These terms have been modified in the statue to reflect a desire to equalize the importance of each parent in a child’s life. We now use the terms Parental Responsibility and Parenting Plans to discuss decision making and timesharing issues for a child.

Parental Responsibility

Shared Parental Responsibility, according to Florida Statutes, is presumed to be in the best interests of the minor child(ren) absent specific and, typically, egregious facts indicating that ultimate or sole parental responsibility or ultimate decision making is necessary. Shared parental responsibility is a relationship where both of the parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. The parties should confer and discuss issues such as schooling, health, religion, the child’s activities and any other issue regarding the welfare of the minor child. These major decisions should be made jointly after a full discussion of each of the parent’s concerns.
Parenting Plans

Florida no longer utilizes terms such as “primary residential” or “secondary residential” parent and now requires timesharing or contact schedules to be outlined in a Parenting Plan. Every couple will have to develop a parenting plan that outlines the parties’ weekly schedule, holiday schedule, summer schedule and specific instructions as they relate to co-parenting decisions and responsibilities. If parties cannot develop a parenting plan on their own, a Court can impose one after hearing all testimony and evidence at a hearing and/or trial.
Father’s Rights

In the past, it was assumed children of divorced or single-parent families were better off living with their mother. Times have changed. Florida law does not give one gender preference over the other in child custody matters. The primary focus is the best interests of the children.