Parental Responsibility


In a divorce, paternity, or parenting actions involving children, Florida law provides each parent the right to remain actively engaged in their child’s life. This includes shared input over decisions affecting the child’s welfare and well-being, such as medical care, religion, and education. This is called “parental responsibility.”

Parental decision-making is separate and distinct from the amount of time a child spends with each parent (called “time-sharing”). Florida provides for three (3) types of decision-making in terms of co-parenting:

  1. Shared Parental Responsibility
  2. Shared Parental Responsibility with Ultimate Decision-Making Authority
  3. Sole Parental Responsibility

Florida law provides that all matters relating to parenting and time-sharing must be determined based on the child’s best interests. Shared parental responsibility is usually appropriate unless it is detrimental to the child. If either parent is deemed as unfit to co-parent safely and effectively because of issues such as emotional problems, drug or alcohol addictions, or criminal history, the Court may award sole parental responsibility to the other parent.

Decision-making can still be tricky in cases of shared parental responsibility. If the parties have shared parental responsibility and cannot agree on parenting issues, the Court may task one parent with ultimate decision-making authority over a particular decision, such as medical care.

At Kelley Kronenberg, we understand that matters involving your children can be frightening and stressful. Whatever your circumstance, our Family Law attorneys can assist you in determining the best means to effectively meet all your parenting goals and unique family needs.