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It is the public policy of Florida to ensure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or the marriage is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing. The court gives both parties the same consideration in determining parental responsibility and time-sharing, regardless of the child’s age or gender.
In most cases, parental responsibility for a minor child will be shared by both parents so that each retains full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child. Shared parenting requires both parents to confer so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly. You and your spouse may agree, or the court may order, that one parent have the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare, such as education, religion or medical and dental needs. The court will determine any or all of these matters if the parties cannot agree.
In very rare cases, the court can order sole parental responsibility to one parent. To do so, the court must determine that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.
In determining parental responsibility, the court will approve or devise its own Parenting Plan, which includes responsibility for the daily tasks of child-rearing, the time-sharing schedule, and decision-making authority relating to health care, school and related activities. The plan also will specify any technology that will be used for parent-child communication. The parents may agree on a Parenting Plan and submit it to the court for approval, or the court will determine these issues. The statute includes a list of factors for the court to consider in making these decisions.
The courts use the best-interests-of-the-child standard when considering parental issues.
Florida law requires both parties to attend a parenting course before entering a final dissolution of marriage.
Some courts require children of parents going through dissolution of marriage to attend a class specifically designed for them. Consult your county clerk’s office for information on courses offered.
Source: The Florida Bar
If need help establishing your rights and deciding what to do in your family’s situation, please schedule a consultation to speak with our Family Law Attorney.
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