Either “shared parental responsibility” or “sole parental responsibility” will be determined in all Florida divorces where minor children are involved. In most cases this is by agreement of the parties but in others, the Court may make this decision after hearing each parent’s testimony and more often than not, after hearing the recommendation of a well qualified child psychologist. Shared parental responsibility is appropriate when both parents are fit and proper to share decision-making and appropriate care for the children. Sole parental responsibility is rare but may be appropriate when one of the parents is unfit.
Under shared parental responsibility, both parents have a right to share in the rights and responsibilities of parenting. Each has the right to participate in major decisions affecting the children. The children should not be used as instruments of vengeance or placed in the middle, either during or after the divorce. Parental conflict over and around the children can be exceptionally damaging to your children and to your post-divorce parenting relationship.
At the very beginning of the divorce, decisions need to be made about how your children’s time is divided between mom’s home and dad’s home. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the Judge will decide these matters at a hearing, but this is only a last resort after attempts to arrive at a compromise have failed.
Under Florida divorce law the Court has the power to appoint a highly qualified, highly professional custody evaluator to evaluate the entire family to determine a parenting plan in the best interests of your children. In many instances, we will request this action to assist in fashioning a timesharing schedule, given the unique facts of your case, to make sure you are heard and to reduce the “he said vs she said” acrimony.
In order to prevent psychological harm to the children of divorcing parents, no minor child’s deposition can be taken nor can the child be brought to a deposition. Further, without an order of the court based upon very compelling reasons, no minor child can be subpoenaed to appear at a hearing as a witness or brought to a court hearing.