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Shared Parenting

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Children and Shared Parental Responsibility

Florida law requires the court to order shared parental responsibility by both parents of their children, unless the court finds shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the children in which case the court may award sole parental responsibility to one of the parents. In ordering shared parental responsibility, the court may grant one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the children’s welfare or may divide these responsibilities between the parties based upon the best interests of the children. The areas of responsibility may include education, health care and other responsibilities the court finds unique to a particular family. Shared parental responsibility includes access to records and information pertaining to the children including, but not limited to their medical, dental and school records. Shared parental responsibility requires both parties to share information and decision making regarding the children’s best interest and welfare. Shared parental responsibility encourages each parent to foster love and affection between the children and the other parent. Shared parental responsibility is not shared custody.

Florida no longer uses the term(s) custody, primary care, primary residential care, or other such designations of custody. Instead, the law refers to timesharing, shared parenting and requires a parenting plan. The parenting plan must be approved by the court. At a minimum, the parenting plan must describe in detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with upbringing the children; the timesharing schedule arrangements that specify the time the children will spend with each parent; a designation of which parent will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school related matters, including the address to be used for school boundary determination and registration and other activities and methods and technologies the parents will use to communicate with the children.

The parenting plan may be agreed to by the parties or determined by the court. The court may appoint an expert such as a psychologist to develop a parenting plan recommendation which the court may consider in establishing a parenting plan.

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