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Are there different types of custody available under Florida law?

  • By: Andrew Merlo
  • Published: October 15, 2018

When the average person talks about children in a divorce, they usually refer to the parent having the majority of the time as the parent with “custody” and the other parent as having “visitation”. In Florida, however, the terms “custody” and “visitation” are no longer used. Rather they are referred to as “parental responsibility” and “timesharing” in this state. Under the law, both parents typically have equal decision making rights over the major aspects of their children. This is also what is called “shared parental responsibility”, as compared to “sole parental responsibility”, where only one parent would make all the decisions regarding a particular aspect of the child. This could involve specific issues regarding education or health of the child and which doctor to use, as examples. If the parents cannot agree, then the judge may appoint one parent sole parental responsibility to make those particular decisions.

When the word “custody” is used, many people think of it as who is going to have the child the majority of the time. In Florida courts that is referred to as “time-sharing”. It is the schedule of where the children are going to spend the nights. There is a schedule that is established, called the “time-sharing schedule”, which specifies which nights are with mom and which are with dad. There are many different schedules and variations that can be put in place. A good timesharing schedule will be specific and address details like birthdays, holidays, vacations, school breaks, etc.

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