The courts in Florida are now requiring plans for shared parental responsibility when making child custody decisions. New terminology and mandated parenting plans are designed to enhance communication between parents and assist in the success of co-parenting processes.
Out with the Old Terms, in with the New!
When speaking about child custody, the terms that were commonly used in the past included custodial vs. noncustodial and primary vs. secondary. In today’s child custody discussions, a new term has emerged to embody modern practices: shared parental responsibility.
The legal system did away with the older terms as the courts feared they undermined co-parenting efforts between divorced or separated couples. To further enhance the success of co-parenting systems, the courts now mandate a comprehensive parenting plan to assist with communication and setting clear boundaries.
Shared parental responsibility is designed in part to provide equal access to information regarding the child or children.Unless the court specifically revokes these privileges, medical, dental and school records are made accessible to each parent. Courts typically order shared parental responsibility to ensure both parents have the ability to access information that regards the child’s life.
Exceptions to the Rule
In some instances, one parent may be excluded from shared parental responsibility where it is deemed appropriate. For example, the court may exclude a parent with a history of criminal activity, domestic violence or child abuse. However, if a parent has a such a record, the court may still decide to allow for time-sharing arrangements.
Keep in mind, a decision to exclude one parent from the process of creating a parenting plan does not remove the need to abide by other legal requirements. For example, if the court decides to remove a parent’s legal right to make decisions for the child, the affected individual is not relieved of previous requirements to provide financial support.
Implementing Parenting Plans
Parenting plans are implemented through the court to enhance communication between former spouses. In general, a plan helps parents decide on the parenting rules by which they will both abide. Although this is a legal implementation, there is no strict legal format for this document. The only requirement is to address specific co-parenting decisions designed to enhance the child’s life.
The first step towards meeting this requirement of the parenting plan is describing how the parents will share responsibility. This should include the details of how the parents will complete the daily tasks involved in raising the child. The second step is to include a time-sharing schedule, specifying the time the child spends with each parent. If the parents agree to each have equal time-sharing with their child this is known as rotating custody. The third step is to designate the parent listed on official forms for healthcare and school-related matters. The final step is to provide, in adequate detail, the methods and technologies used by the parents to communicate with the child.
Ready to Develop Your Shared Parental Responsibility Plan?
Attorney Craig Vigodsky has a wealth of experience in family law matters. Whether it’s a new divorce or new paternity actions, contact us to get down to the brass tacks of your shared parental responsibilities!