Parental Responsibility

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Parental Responsibility Attorney In Fort Lauderdale

The “P” within the acronym P.E.A.C.E. stands for Parental Responsibility.  Parental Responsibility is a relatively new Florida law which was implemented when the Florida legislature removed “custody” from the divorce process in 2008.

Under Florida law, both parents are presumed fit to raise their child through shared parental responsibility. This means that both parents have the right to be involved in all major decisions for their child, which may include the child’s health, education, religion, and social environment.

Going through a divorce affects people in multiple ways and can be an incredibly stressful process – especially for the children. Children are often too young to understand what a divorce is and because of this, are very confused and could face emotional trauma now or in the future. This is why it is essential, and now required by Florida law, to create a plan which helps parents and children during and after the divorce process. Usually referred to as a parenting plan, Section 61.13, Florida Statutes, explains in detail how a parenting plan is developed and implemented.

Sole Parental Responsibility in Florida

When parents are unable to discuss major decisions about their children together, or there is a concern that one parent may be a detriment to the child, a parent may seek the relief of “sole parental responsibility” or “sole decision-making authority” over the children. When a parent seeks this ruling, he or she would have to show the courts that the other parent is a detriment to the best interests of the child and the child would not benefit by having shared parental responsibility. As a parent getting a divorce, it is especially important to obtain knowledge of:

  • The child’s development.
  • The child’s stress level.
  • The child’s normal reactions to the process.

It is important to research these behavioral patterns because not having this knowledge may prove harmful to the child and to you. Additionally, there are many resources available to you as a parent to help you better understand the psychology involved with children going through the divorce process.

Creating a Solid Parenting Plan in Florida

One of the many different sections of a Florida Parenting Plan is the timesharing schedule. A timesharing schedule will outline the specific days of the week, month, year, and even holiday’s each parent will share with their child. Some of the most common timesharing schedules are as follows:

  • Weekly – when work and school schedules are similar for both parents and children, there is little need to juggle different times and days. This schedule makes an easy calendar to follow.
  • Every Two weeks – this schedule gives more time in each home and generally works better for older children. The schedule may also allow parents opportunities to schedule their heavier work times during the child’s absence.
  • 3-4-4-3 – this schedule rotates on a two-week arrangement where the first week, one parent has the child for 4 days out of the week, while the other parent has the child for 3 days out of the week; the following weeks just simply switch.
  • 2-2-5-5 – this schedule rotates on a two-week agreement which gives the parents each a two-day block, followed by each getting a 5-day block with the child. For example, one parent starts with the child for 2 days, then the other parent gets the child for 2 days, then back to the first parent for 5 days, and then to the other parent for 5 days.
  • 2-3-2 – this is a weekly schedule that alternates between parents each week. For instance, in week one, the first parent has the child for 2 days, then the other parent gets the child for 3 days, and then back to the first parent for 2 days.

It is the public policy of the State of Florida that children benefit from two healthy parents involved in a child’s life where the parents can discuss the child’s upbringing and make decisions together. If one parent believes that the other parent is unfit to raise their child, then it is the responsibility of that parent to intervene long before the divorce process begins.

We encourage every parent to gain as much knowledge as possible and if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Call (954) 635-2251.