Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody

Parental responsibility is an important designation made in a Miami child custody case which refers to the right of the parents to make major decisions regarding their children.  The court can award shared or sole parental responsibility, or a mix of both. How the court determines this is fact-specific. 

The specific features of each type of parental responsibility in a Miami child custody case are as follows:

  • Shared: The parents jointly make major decisions affecting the welfare of their children. Neither parent may unilaterally make a major decision without consulting with and obtaining the agreement of the other parent. 
  • Sole: One parent makes all major decisions affecting the children, however, such decisions must be shared with the other parent. 
  • Shared with ultimate decision-making authority: The parents must jointly confer on major decisions about the children, but if an agreement cannot be reached, one parent ultimately has the right to make the decision without the agreement of the other parent. 

Major decisions include what doctor the children will see, what school they attend, etc. This does not include day-to-day decisions regarding ordinary care and control of the children. Obtaining sole parental responsibility is not easy and a parent requesting it has a high burden to meet.

A Florida child custody court must order shared parental responsibility unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. According to the Florida Statutes: "Evidence that a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence, creates a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child. If the presumption is not rebutted after the convicted parent is advised by the court that the presumption exists, shared parental responsibility, including time-sharing with the child, and decisions made regarding the child, may not be granted to the convicted parent." Even where there has been no conviction, the court can consider evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.

If you need assistance in determining what type of parental responsibility is appropriate for your family, a consultation with a Miami child custody lawyer may be a good start. Working together for the best interest of your children should be the primary goal for all involved in a custody case.