Florida Child Custody

The concept of child custody in Florida is called “shared parental responsibility,” and it assumes that it is in the best interests of a child involved in a divorce to have both parents stay active in their life. Florida law codified the concept of shared parental responsibility, and it affects every aspect of child custody law in the state. However, many parents do not fully understand the concept of shared parental responsibility or what is required of them under the law.

Shared Parental Responsibility

The idea of shared parental responsibility was codified in section 61.046 of Florida law. It defines the concept as “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.”

Shared Parental Decisions

According to the principles of shared parental responsibility, all major decisions regarding the child should be made by both parents as a team. However, the parent that is caring for the child will have the responsibility of making the day-to-day decisions regarding their care and welfare. Major decisions that both parents must agree to include the following:

  • Religious upbringing
  • Discipline
  • Financial matters
  • Moral matters
  • Social matters
  • Recreational matters
  • Legal matters
  • Schooling and education
  • Non-emergency healthcare (medical and dental)
Shared Parental Responsibilities

In addition to making decisions as a team, parents in a shared parental responsibility role also have obligations to each other and their child. Each parent must make every attempt to resolve disputes amicably in addition to playing an active role in “providing a sound moral, socioeconomic, and educational environment” for their child.

Parents are required to “at all times conduct themselves and their activities in a proper manner which will promote the welfare and the interest of the child.” In addition, each parent must inform the other any time that the child is sick or had an accident. Both parents also get full access to all records of the child including medical, school, and dental records. Neither parent can attempt to block the other’s access to this information.

Finally, the law requires that each parent encourage their child to develop a relationship with the other parent. The child must “maintain unhampered contact and free access with both parties.” In addition, “neither party shall do anything to hamper the natural development of the child’s love and respect for the other party. While the minor child is residing with one parent, that parent shall make all reasonable efforts to facilitate communication between the other parent and the child, both by telephone and through the mail. Neither party shall do anything that would estrange the child from the other party.”

Call a Florida Family Law Attorney Now

If you or a loved one has questions regarding the rights, responsibilities, or decisions of shared parental responsibility in the Fort Lauderdale area, let the experienced family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.