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Understanding child custody arrangements in Florida

As mentioned previously on this blog, family law courts in Florida encourage both parents to continue to share rights and responsibilities of their children. This is considered to be in the child's best interests post divorce if the parents are both fit for parenting. No longer is it automatically assumed that the father will have custody of minor children-fathers are given the same considerations when it comes to determining child custody in Florida.

Called parental responsibility in Florida, courts award either sole or shared parental responsibility. Both parents are given full rights and responsibilities for their children in shared parental responsibiiity. This includes sharing decision making powers regarding all the important decisions in the children's lives, such as living conditions, religion, health and even contact with other family members. Basically, both parents make all major decisions that affect the children's welfare jointly.

In sole responsibility however, when both parents cannot make a decision together, the court will order one parent to have the ultimate decision making power with regards to the specific areas mentioned above.

In certain situations, the courts can vary parental responsibility. In some situations, the court can decide one parent has sole responsibility while in other courts can grant shared to both parents.

It is important not to confuse parental responsibility with the concept primary residence-the children may be living with one parent primarily but responsibility can be split between both parents. To understand parental responsibility and the factors courts consider when making determinations, it may be beneficial to discuss child custody arrangements with an experienced attorney.

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