Practice Areas

Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing

Shared Parental Responsibility

In Florida the law requires the court to order “shared parental responsibility” in every case “unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.” So essentially this means that you and your spouse will both retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to your child and that you both must confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of your child will be determined jointly. In turn a Parenting Plan is required in all cases involving time-sharing with minor children, even when time sharing is not in dispute. Florida Parental Responsibility and Time-Sharing a/k/a…

  • Custody, conservatorship
  • Parenting time, visitation, possession
Have you taken part in a legal proceeding in one state and then moved to another state just to be confused by the legal language of the new state? We see this all the time.

Parental responsibility in Florida is equivalent to custody and conservatorship in other states. Parental responsibility refers to decision making rights and responsibilities of the parents. The presumption of the Florida Courts is to award joint parental responsibility – the parents work together to make major decisions that affect the child’s health and well-being. Sometimes the Court awards sole parental responsibility to one parent. The parent requesting this option must be able to prove that sole parental responsibility is in the best interest of the child.

Likewise, time-sharing is Florida is synonymous with parenting time, visitation, and possession in other states. Time-sharing is a section of the Parenting Plan that covers the time the child will spend with each parent. Time-sharing schedules tend to vary from case to case because every family is unique. It is a beautiful day when parents can work together on creating the time-sharing schedule that is best for their family. Some families use a long-distance parenting plan which encompasses time-sharing for a parent living far away. It is important to be consistent with overnight time-sharing since overnights are a huge factor in calculating child support.

While all these terms mean the same thing, it is important to know the right words for the state you currently live in. We suggest speaking with a family law attorney to discuss your state’s parental responsibility and time-sharing requirements. Akilah Harris, Esq. is an experienced family law attorney in Pembroke Pines, Florida

Creating a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is the written document known as a ‘Parenting Plan Agreement’ that outlines how both you and your spouse each will fulfill your “shared parental responsibility’ after your divorce. It must include a time-sharing schedule which break downs the time-sharing arrangement each of you will have. It also will include the type of parental rights and responsibilities that you each will have with respect to making decisions for issues in a child’s life.


You will submit the parenting plan to the court for review. The court determines all matters relating to parenting and time-sharing of each minor child in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court will take into account many considerations including your historic relationship, domestic violence and any other factors that are considered in the best interest of the child.

At a minimum, the Parenting Plan must describe in adequate detail:

How you and your ex-spouse will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child(ren)

The time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that your child(ren) will spend with each of you

A designation of who will be responsible for any and all forms of health care and school-related matters

The methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child(ren).

What is time-sharing in Florida? Time-sharing” is the legal term that Florida recently created to describe the amount of time that each parent spends with a child following a divorce. In the Florida Statutes “time-sharing” replaces what used to be referred to as “custody” or “visitation.”
The reason behind going from the terms of “custody” and “visitation” to “time-sharing” is to reflect that most parents (ideally) “share time” with their children with the other parent and do not merely “visit” their child.

A Parenting Plan Can Help in Reducing ConflictWhen children are involved in divorce, conflict can easily rear it’s ugly head. This can result in long-term emotional problems for your child. By setting out clear co-parenting guidelines and expectations a well thought out shared parenting plan can help to reduce future conflict. If you and your spouse can make it a priority to cooperate with each other it will benefit everyone in your family.

Parenting Plans are Not One Size Fits All!

Every family has unique circumstances so there is not one cookie cutter parenting plan for every family. One, you both need to think about your child’s relationship to each of you. For example your child may be more comfortable staying with one parent than the other, so you may have to be flexible and agree to spend either more or less time with the child.

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