In the early development of family law in the United States, the term child custody was used to represent the parent who had the role as the primary caregiver in the child’s life. Today, the courts recognize that both parents have an important role in the responsibilities of bringing up and caring for a child.
In Duval, FL, as well as across the state and in most states, the old term child custody has been replaced by the terms parental responsibility and parenting time or time sharing. Parental responsibility refers to the responsibility, decision making authority or input the parent has in specific aspects of the child’s life. Time sharing is just as it sounds. It is the amount of time a parent will spend with the child or children.
Most couples will be able to agree to both parenting responsibilities as well as time sharing. This is ideal as this tends to limit conflicts and sabotage of the plan if both parents feel it is a win-win situation for themselves and their child or children.
In these situations, a child custody attorney is used to formalize the plan developed by the parents, often in a mediation process. With the attorney’s understanding of the law and what issues have to be addressed, the parenting plan can be completed and include all issues relating to the care of the minor children.
Sometimes, one parent is not able to assume parental responsibility or time sharing due to a variety of factors. In some cases, one parent is not willing to work with the other parent to develop a suitable or fair parenting plan. A parent may be moving out of state or even relocating internationally, requiring a child custody attorney to assist in preparing a plan suitable for long distance time sharing.
Additionally, a parent in Duval, FL may not be mentally or physically able to take parental responsibility or unsupervised visits with the children. In these situations, a child custody attorney can be used to ensure the safety of the children through the required court orders.