The Different Types of Child Custody in Florida

Child custody works differently in Florida than anywhere else in the world. Parents entering a divorce hoping to get “sole custody” may be surprised that those terms do not even apply to Florida. Instead, there is a complex system that hopes to give children time with both of their parents – and reward parents who wear their responsibilities properly.

At the Law Offices of Ray Garcia, P.A., we know that there is nothing more important to a parent than being with their child. For all parents considering or going through a divorce and wondering about their future time with their children, here is how the Florida child custody system works:

Time Sharing

Florida uses the term “Time Sharing” to refer to the time that a parent spends with their child. Time Sharing is what is determined in a Florida divorce court, not child custody. The standard approach in divorce cases is to make sure that both parents have access to Time Sharing, unless there are any safety concerns about one parent.

There are two main arrangements for Time Sharing: Equal Time Sharing and Majority Time Sharing. Equal Time Sharing means that both parents spend a roughly (not exactly) identical amount of time with their child. Equal Time Sharing may be achieved through switching weeks or a variety of other schedule arrangements.

Majority Time Sharing is where one parent spends much more time with the child than the other. The other parent will still get to spend time with their child, however. A common Majority Time Sharing schedule is one parent having the child every other weekend and the other raising them the rest of the time.

Parental Responsibility

Part of the Time Sharing process involves determining “Parental Responsibility.” Parental Responsibility is the court’s term in Florida for the ability to make important decisions for your child. These include where they live, where they go to school, what they eat, what activities they participate in, and any major medical decisions.

It is possible that Sole Parental Responsibility could be assigned to one parent, although it is uncommon. The standard arrangement is that Joint Parental Responsibility is assigned to both parents. They each have a say in the major life decisions of their child. However, the court will typically assign one of the two as the Primary Parent. That means that if both parents disagree on a major life issue for the child, the Primary Parent has the final decision. It is an essential part of maintaining balance.

Get the Help That You Need

When most parents enter the divorce process, their number one priority is getting as much time with their children as possible. In order to achieve that properly, it is important to understand how Florida’s process of Time Sharing works, and what is valued most in it. For help with any family law legal matters, contact the Law Offices of Ray Garcia, P.A. today! We look forward to helping you soon!