Florida took away the term Child Custody years ago; now, Florida introduced a two-prong system called Parental Responsibility and Time Sharing. And that’s how child custody is now determined here in Florida.
Parental responsibility is the decision-making for the children. Both parents have equal responsibility in making decisions for health, education, religion, and major events in the children’s lives, or one parent can have sole parental responsibility. It doesn’t change if one parent has sole parental responsibility; the other parent can still have time-sharing. Time-sharing is physically taking care of the child in an overnight capacity, or just having visitations with the child. So that’s why Florida has adopted a two-prong system so that both parents have an opportunity in the upbringing of the children.
Difference Between Parental Responsibility & Time Sharing
Parental responsibility is actually the decision-making for the children. For example, which school does the kid go to school, which Doctor to visit, whether they would attend church, type of religion, and the major decisions are having to do with the upbringing of the children. Whereas time-sharing is how much time does a child spent with each individual parent, basically where the children will live throughout the year until they turn 18.
Parental Responsibility & Time Sharing for Unmarried Parents
Parental responsibility and time-sharing are applicable for unmarried parents as well. Instead of a divorce, it would be paternity. The child’s biological father will have to file a petition either with the mother or on his own to determine his parental right. The mother automatically deems the natural guardianship and has sole parental responsibility if she is unmarried. The father actually has to petition to obtain parental rights of parental responsibility and time-sharing.
The parents can either come to an agreement together where a judge will sign an order, or the father has to get his day in court and fight for parental responsibility and time-sharing to establish parental rights.
Role of a Family Lawyer
Depending on the type of case, an attorney can assist in filing the petition to establish the parental rights, establish paternity and get a parenting plan with establishing parental responsibility and time-sharing for unmarried couples/parents. In a divorce, what will happen with the children is very important. The courts are interested in what happens to the children; an attorney can also assist in setting up a parenting plan establishing parental responsibility and time-sharing.
It is critical to understand the differences between parental responsibility and time-sharing when agreeing upon a child custody order. A family law attorney can guide you about your parental responsibilities, rights, obligations, and time-sharing.