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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > In Child Time Sharing Plans, Which Parent Has the Authority to Make Decisions on Behalf of the Child?

In Child Time Sharing Plans, Which Parent Has the Authority to Make Decisions on Behalf of the Child?


In Fort Lauderdale child time-sharing proceedings, much of the focus is on the amount of physical time the child will spend with each parent. This is often a hotly debated topic and rightly so. Making a home for your child and being involved in their lives on a regular basis provides a foundation in forming a close personal relationship that will endure for the rest of their lives.

However, there are other considerations you need to be aware of in these proceedings that are equally important. As part of your parenting plan, the court will determine which parent has the right to make legal decisions on the child’s behalf, which could have major impacts on them now and in the years to come.

Fort Lauderdale Parenting Plans and Legal Authority in Decision Making  

In cases involving divorce and unmarried couples who are no longer living together, judges typically encourage child time-sharing arrangements that allow both parties to remain active and involved in the child’s lives. These arrangements are created via Florida parenting plans, which detail the amount of time the child spends in each parent’s home during the week and rights regarding weekends, holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions.

In addition to the amount of time the child spends with each individual parent, your parenting plan will also detail who has legal authority in making decisions on the child’s behalf. These types of decisions often involve important matters, such as:

  • The type of education the child receives;
  • Any sports or other activities they are involved in;
  • Their religious upbringing;
  • Their medical care and services that are provided;
  • Any additional help required to address special needs.

Depending on the situation, legal authority in decision making may be divided between the parents or may be awarded to one party alone. If both parents do share in this responsibility, they will need to consult with one another before taking actions that could potentially impact the child.

Determining Who Has Legal Authority Over the Child

There are numerous factors under the Florida Statutes which judges consider when approving parenting plans and child time-sharing arrangements. In an effort to ensure the child’s safety and future best interests are provided for, these same factors will apply in determining who has the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf. These include:

  • Each parent’s current and prior relationship with the child;
  • Their individual ability to nurture the child and meet their needs;
  • Their willingness and ability to cooperate with the other parent;
  • Problems such as drug use or other criminal behavior, which indicates poor judgment and could put the child at risk.

Contact Us Today for Help 

Decisions made on behalf of your child could impact them for years to come. To protect them and your rights as their parent, get our Fort Lauderdale child custody & timesharing attorney on your side. Call or contact the office of Vanessa L. Prieto online today to request a consultation.


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