How Parental Responsibility is Determined in Florida Divorce Cases

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If a couple who is divorcing has children together, then one of the major issues in that divorce is going to be what type of parental responsibility the parents should be awarded and where are those children going to spend their time?

How Child Custody Is Determined in Florida 

Florida’s baseline on the issue of children is that both parents should be actively involved with the children and that they should have Shared Parental Responsibility.  Shared responsibility means that the children’s parents should consult with one another about all significant issues related to their children, including decisions about education, medical treatment and the general welfare of the children.

However, in a case like the one we mentioned where the Father dropped his child off a bridge, if there is evidence that Shared Parental Responsibility would be detrimental to the child, and then the Court can award one party Sole Parental Responsibility. 

When parents divorce and the Court is making its initial determination about parental responsibility and time-sharing the factors that the Court examines are extensive but relatively simple.  For example, a major concern for the Court is always which parent is more likely to help the other parent have a good relationship with the children?

The Court will also look at (to name just a few):

  • Which parent has been the primary care giver to the children historically? 
  • What is the capacity of each parent to communicate with the other parent and to keep  them informed of developments in the children’s lives?
  • The disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the children or
  • The ability of the parent to shield the children from the effects of the litigation.

The total number of factors the Court has to evaluate in making time-sharing decisions in more than 20 and they are all important to one degree or another. 

If you are thinking of filing a divorce action, preplanning is important; especially in the area of Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing issues.    

If you wish to consult with an expert in Marital and Family Law, call our office at (727) 531-8737 and schedule your free initial consultation. We strive to advocate for our clients while also keeping the best interest of your children in mind.