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What Are ‘Time Sharing’ And ‘Parental Responsibility’ Under Florida Law?

Tampa child custody & paternity attorneys in Florida

The term ‘child custody’ is one that most people are familiar with because historically, this was the term used in the Florida Statutes and in the family courts throughout the state. Today, though, these terms have been replaced by the terms ‘time sharing’ and ‘parental responsibility’ and that comes as a surprise to some couples who are going through a divorce or who are establishing paternity. Below, one of our Tampa child custody attorneys explain these two terms, as well as the reason for the change.

What is Time Sharing and Parental Responsibility?

 Parental responsibility was once known as legal custody. The parent awarded parental responsibility can legally make important decisions for their child. These decisions can include the education the child receives, the religion they are raised in, and the health care they receive.

The family courts will always begin any parental responsibility case with the presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to award joint parental responsibility to the two parties because all parents should have a say in how to raise their child. This does not always happen, though, and sometimes sole parental responsibility is awarded to one parent.

On the other hand, time sharing has taken the place of the terms child custody and child visitation in the Florida Statutes. Like parental responsibility, the family courts start any dispute under the presumption that each parent should have equal amounts of time sharing, but this can also change when certain circumstances are involved.  Parents can also reach an agreement about time sharing and create a parenting plan together. As long as it is fair and in the best interests of the children, a judge will approve it.

Why Did the Terminology Change in Florida? 

People going through a divorce often think they will become involved in a child custody dispute and they are surprised to learn that the term is no longer used. The reason for changing to the terms parental responsibility and time sharing is very practical.

In 2008, Florida lawmakers determined that the word ‘custody’ typically refers to possession and ownership. Even when parents do not view their children as possessions, the term custody does reinforce the idea that they are. Lawmakers agreed on this at the time and so, the term ‘custody’ was stricken from the law. At the same time, the term ‘visitation’ was also replaced with ‘time-sharing’ in the statutes. The reason behind this was that parents should not have to visit their children but instead, spend time with them and play an active role in their life.

Our Child Custody Attorneys in Tampa Can Advise on Your Case 

If you have a parental responsibility or time-sharing dispute, our Tampa child custody attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. can provide the legal advice you need. Our skilled attorneys will always make sure your rights are upheld and can help you draft a parenting plan that is fair and in your child’s best interests. Call us today at 813-672-1900 or connect with us online to schedule a free consultation of your case.  Se habla Español.




All Family Law Group, P.A.
The law firm of All Family Law Group, P.A. provides legal services to the Florida cities including Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, Riverview, Hyde Park, South Tampa, Ybor City, Northdale, Valrico, Gibsonton, Lithia, Mango, Palm River, Plant City, Seffner, Sun City Center, Wimauma, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, Northdale, Westchase, Citrus Park, Town N Country, Thonotosassa, Lutz, Fish Hawk, New Tampa, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, MacDill Air Force Base and all of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. We will also represent DIVORCE clients in Polk, Hernando or Manatee Counties.

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