Child Custody

Our Pensacola Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys Discuss Shared Parental Responsibility

Our Pensacola Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys Discuss Shared Parental Responsibility

What is Shared Parental Responsibility:

Section 61.046 states that shared parental responsibility means “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.”  Our Pensacola Divorce and Child Custody attorneys understand that parents going through a child custody case need to understand the concept of shared parental responsibility still requires that major decisions still must be made jointly even though the parents may be divorcing. 

Can one Party be Awarded Shared Parental Responsibility with One Party Having the Ability to Make the Ultimate Decision?

Florida Section 61.13 in pertinent part states “In ordering shared parental responsibility, the court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare or may divide those responsibilities between the parties based on the best interests of the child. Areas of responsibility may include education, health care, and any other responsibilities that the court finds unique to a particular family.”  Our Pensacola divorce and child custody lawyers are no strangers to ligating issues regarding shared parental responsibility and ultimate decision-making authority.  Our attorneys know that Florida’s appellate courts on a case by case basis have had to define and interpret the limits placed on the ultimate decision-making authority.

A Recent Case Sheds Light on Shared Parental Responsibility with Ultimate Decision Making

In Seligsohn v. Seligsohn the appellate court ruled that the trial court could not award one parent ultimate decision-making authority as to all issues as such unlimited decision-making authority is incompatible with shared parental responsibility. A court may award one parent ultimate decision-making authority over specific matters where the parties are unable to come to an agreement and those specific decisions must be expressly listed in the Final Judgment. Seligsohn, 259 So.3d 874 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).  In light of this ruling our Pensacola Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys know that a court should not simply grant blank ultimate decision-making power to one parent over all issues.  The court must specifically look at the specific issues where the parents can not agree and grant specific authority to make ultimate decision making as to those specific issues. 

Another interesting point to consider when seeking shared parental responsibility is that unlike sole parental responsibility the court does not have to make any finding regarding detriment.  Our Pensacola divorce and child custody attorneys often see much confusion and misuse of shared parental responsibility and ultimate decision-making authority. Often the person awarded ultimate decision-making authority believes they no longer need to confer with the other parent or attempt to make a joint decision.  This is untrue and can result in contempt of court.  Ultimate decision-making authority does not provide one parent to solely make decisions, but instead provide a tie breaker in the event the parents can not agree on a specific issue.

Our Pensacola Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys Are Here to Help.

Our Pensacola divorce and child custody attorneys are here to help you present your child custody case to the court.  We know that shared parenting is one of the most important issues to a parent going through a divorce or child custody case.  However, through our experience we know that often coparenting is difficult and there are times where the parties can not agree on a critical issue.  Our Pensacola divorce and child custody attorneys have the experience to seek and have the court rule that ultimate decision-making authority is necessary and in the best interest of the child.  Our child custody attorneys serve Pensacola, Panama City, Fort Walton, Tallahassee and Orlando and we are here to help you with your divorce or child custody case.

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