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How does custody work in Florida?

Florida has two custody terms you need to be familiar with. One, time sharing, describes the physical time each parent spends with a child. The second, parental responsibility, refers to making decisions on your child's behalf including medical, schooling and religious decisions.

Both parents don't always receive the right to physical time with their children and the right to make legal decisions for their children. Sometimes, only one parent receives full parental responsibility even though they both may share physical time with the child. That can, in some ways, make parenting decisions easier, but the courts do generally like both parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their child.

Florida currently favors equal parenting time when possible. That may mean that you spend time with your child for two weeks a month while your ex spends time with your child the other two weeks, or there may be another type of arrangement. The courts want to see both parents raising a child as equally as possible, as it would be in a typical two-parent household.

Of course, shared custody has its downsides. It can be stressful for a child, and because of that, the court will rule in favor of the best interests of the child. If the child would benefit from staying with one parent during the week and another during the weekends, then the court will rule for that to be the case. However, if you and your ex can come up with a solution prior to your court date, then that parenting plan is more likely to be implemented.

Source: The Spruce, "Child Custody in Florida," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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