Parental Timesharing, Parenting Plans, and School Boundary Issues
In Florida, when there are minor children and Family Court must be involved in their wellbeing, there are firm guidelines regarding how the child’s care and nurturing should occur. These guidelines apply to all couples who have created or adopted a child together, whether they were ever married or even lived together. In Florida, all parents are legally responsible for their children from birth to age l8 and longer if the child cannot, for mental or physical reasons, support themselves. “In the best interest of the child” is the motto of Florida Family Court, and parents do not have to want or like what they may be ordered to do regarding their minor child.
Except for special cases such as parents in jail, too ill mentally or physically to care for a minor child, on drugs or alcohol, or have been convicted of child abuse or domestic violence, both parents will share custody of the child, including spending equal numbers of overnights with them. The concept of primary and secondary child custody no longer stands outside of the special circumstances mentioned above. Courts use terms such as shared parenting, co-parenting, parental timeshare, and shared parental responsibility to refer to how minor children will be nurtured and cared for by their parents.
One of the parts of the way the court handles the day-to-day raising of children is to draw up a parenting plan. The plan will define exactly the many details of how a child is to be treated. Such concerns as to how a child will be transported between parents?Who will the child spend holidays, including the child’s birthday, with? Who can care for the child when a parent cannot? And who pays for extracurricular activities? are examples of questions addressed in a parenting plan. Additionally, shared parent responsibility determines that all major decisions in the areas of education, medical, discipline, and religion will be made by both parents agreeing together. Depending on the level of cooperation and respect between the parents will often determine how well joint decisions are made.
One of the often-asked questions regarding a minor child’s education is Does the parent who lives in the designated boundary for schools have the right to decide which school the child will attend without the other parent agreeing? The answer is an emphatic NO. As noted in the areas of shared parent responsibility, education is one of the areas. Deciding on a child’s school must be done by both parents, or the court will consider it a violation of ordered shared parental responsibility, and the offending parent can be held in contempt.
If you have minor children and are planning to divorce, it is important to find a well-qualified Family Attorney to work with you. He or she will be able to answer your questions about shared parental responsibility and help you make sure you will not be in violation. For those living in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County in Florida or New York or Washington DC, Marital and Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo can help. He is board-certified in his field with over a decade of successful practice. To answer your general questions and to share how he can help in your case, Attorney Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday for new clients from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Please call his office at (521) 530-4568 to make an appointment.