Shared Parental Responsibility

Shared Parental Responsibility Laws in Florida

Shared Parental Responsibility

Under Florida Statute 61.046, shared parental responsibility is defined 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”.  A bond between a parent and child is sacred and our court system treats it as such. Accordingly, Florida Family Courts order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child (see Florida Statute 61.13(2)(c)2). This type of treatment (stripping of parental rights) is preserved for severe cases, such as when a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence, which will create a “rebuttable presumption” of detriment to the child. Of course, should the court find that the continuing relationship of a parent is a detriment to the child, the Court will often award “sole parental responsibility” to the other parent, which is defined as  a “court-ordered relationship in which only one parent makes decisions regarding the minor child” (see Florida Statute 61.046).

Parenting Disagreement

So, what happens if the parents with shared parental responsibility cannot agree about some aspect of their child’s welfare – such as if the child should attend a public or private elementary school? Well, in that circumstance, the family law court (if properly petitioned) can make the determination that the disagreement amongst the parents constitutes “a substantial change in circumstance”. The significance of the court making that decision is that the Family Court may revisit the couple’s parenting plan (if there is one filed) and modify the Court’s former order and reassign one of the parents with the decision-making power with regards to the disputed matter. So, in effect, the Court will choose which parent should make further decisions re: school matters and that parent can choose the proper school for the child.

Free Parental Responsibility Consultations

If you have any questions regarding shared parental responsibility laws in Florida, feel free to give our Miami family law firm a call at +1.786.309.8588 for a Free Consultation.