In Florida, the courts have moved away from using the term “custody.” Unlike in the past, neither party will be “awarded custody.” Instead, the courts will assign "parental responsibility" for the children, either shared or sole, and will provide for a timesharing arrangement.
Sole parental responsibility is when one parent makes decisions regarding the child without input from the other parent. This includes minor decisions that need to be made on a day-to-day basis (i.e., the child’s bedtime) as well as all major decisions (i.e., the school the child attends)
Shared parental responsibility is when both parents have full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child. The parents must communicate with each other and jointly make decisions about the child's welfare (including primary residence, education, religion, medical and dental care). Therefore, in cases where there is domestic violence -- and the abuser has the power and control-- this type of shared parental responsibility likely will not be a good option.
A “time-sharing schedule” is a detailed timetable that must be included in the parenting plan that gives specific times (including overnights and holidays) that the child will spend with each parent. It can be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by the court. If the parents cannot agree, the schedule will be created by the court after both parents present testimony and evidence.
Whether you have questions concerning your custody rights in Florida, want to seek sole custody, or create a time-sharing scheduled that the court may approve, contact Garrett J. Strahl Florida Family Law Attorney at 904-342-1050.