Why Was The Term “Custody” Changed To Parental Responsibility?
Florida statute no longer uses the term “custody” because people were fighting over the term more than they were fighting over what was in the best interests of the children. For example, parents were asking the court to grant them custody of their children, but when asked what custody meant to them, their answers had little to do with parental responsibility. For this reason, Florida courts now use the term parental responsibility. Unless there is a detriment to the children (i.e. abuse or neglect by one parent), there will be shared parental responsibility, which involves both parents communicating with one another regarding major decisions.
Major decisions include those related to medical care, religion, extracurricular activities, and education. If for some reason the parties cannot agree on a major decision, then one party can ask for ultimate decision-making authority. If granted, this authority would give them the final say in the event that there is a disagreement. For instance, if one parent believes the child should begin taking medicine for ADHD and the other parent does not, the court will grant ultimate decision-making authority to one parent.
In certain circumstances, one parent may be awarded sole parental responsibility, which would give them the authority to make all major decisions without the input of the other parent. Most often, this is granted when one parent has committed domestic violence in front of or toward the children or has neglected the children.
People do not get overly attached to the idea of having ultimate decision-making authority or sole parental rights in the same way as they do to the term “custody.” This is because it is not as big of a deal since the parent who is taking care of the child at any point in time will be the parent making the day-to-day decisions. The crux of a case is not shared parental responsibility or ultimate decision-making authority; it’s the time-sharing plan.
What Are Some Different Combinations For Time-Sharing Parental Responsibility Under Florida State Law?
There are many different types of time-sharing arrangements in Florida because every case is unique; one parent might have no overnights, the majority of overnights might be awarded to one parent, or each parent might be given the same number of overnights. There are several factors that play into the determination of a time-sharing plan, which are laid out in Florida Statute 6113. One of these factors is whether or not there are infant children who are breastfeeding and therefore cannot be away from the mother for very long. If this is the case, the courts might order that the father be able to see the children during the day, or may limit the father’s overnight visits to one or two per week.
The goal is to avoid keeping children away from either parent for very long, so the courts will often order a 2-2-3 schedule, whereby the children would be with one parent for two days of the week, spend the following two days with the other parent, and then return to the first parent for three days. This is a very common schedule for children between the ages of two and five, but it might not work very well if the parents do not live close to one another or argue every time they see each other. In other cases, a 3-4-4-3 or 2-2-5-5 schedule might be implemented, or parents will alternate having the children each week. There are many different arrangements that can be made, and many factors to consider in addition to the 21 factors that are considered pursuant to Florida Statute 6113.
For more information on Time-Sharing Parental Responsibility, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (239) 334-4383 today.
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