Parental Responsibility and Decision Making

Parental responsibility and decision making. Parents holding toddler's hands.

Parents in Florida divorce and paternity cases decide if they will share parental responsibility and decision making for their child.

Therefore, they must agree to a “Parenting Plan” or have a judge decide on a plan. 

In collaborative practice, parents work with a collaborative neutral facilitator and collaborative professional team.

How does that work? The collaborative team helps parents write their parenting agreements. Typically, the agreements includes the regular and holiday schedule and how the parents will share important decisions. Florida law calls this decision-making authority “parental responsibility.”

The Supreme Court of Florida approved form parenting plans, including Form 12.995(a) – Parenting Plan (02/18) and Form 12.995(c) – Relocation/Long Distance Parenting Plan (02/18) give parents the option of agreeing on:

  • Shared parental responsibility.  This option states, “Either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child(ren).”
  • Shared parental responsibility with decision making authority in one parent, if they cannot agree after conferring.
  • Sole parental responsibility – sole authority a parent has to decide for the child.  This option is based on shared responsibility being detrimental to the child.

Parents commonly agree to, and courts order, “shared parental responsibility” over decisions. Moreover, Florida’s public policy favors shared parental responsibility. See Coyne v. Coyne, 895 So. 2d 469 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005) and Section 61.13(2)(c)(1), Florida Statutes. However, unusual circumstances might justify one parent’s having sole decision-making authority. For example, that may be best when sharing decisions would hurt their child.

⇒ Next:  Shared Parental Responsibility and Sole Parental Responsibility

⇐ Previous: Introduction – Consent to Child’s Mental Health Treatment

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