Making Decisions about Your Child
After a breakup, child time-sharing arrangements can become a major issue, with decision being a battleground for power and control issues. The following outlines how decision making responsibilities regarding children are handled in Florida, and steps you can take to help avoid conflicts in these arrangements.
Legal Responsibility for Making Decisions Regarding Your Child
Under Section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes, parenting plans are used to determine how much time each parent will spend with their child, along with who will have responsibility for making decisions on their behalf. It is the goal of the court to encourage both parents to be equally involved, provided there are no issues that prevent them from doing so or risk the child’s safety and well being.
As part of your time sharing agreement, decision making responsibility can either be agreed upon by the parents, or the judge can make a determination in the case. This involves making mature, well-informed choices on behalf of the child in the following types of matters:
- Their education, which includes the type of school they go to and the activities they will be involved in. Agreements will be made regarding who is listed as emergency contacts, and the rights each parent has in picking up the child and attending school sponsored events.
- Their religious upbringing, which includes religious education and practices, such as regular church attendance, along with going through various procedures or rites of passage offered by the church.
- Their health care, which involves decision making responsibility for the physical and psychological care they receive, including routine visits as well as therapies and treatments targeting specific illnesses, accidental injuries, or chronic conditions.
- Their social and recreational pursuits, which includes after school activities and involvement in programs meant to encourage social development.
Co Parenting Tips for Parents
In regards to making decisions, you could find yourself carrying the brunt of decision making authority, or you could end up having to work with your former partner to make choices that put aside personal disagreements and place your child’s best interests first. In either situation, knowing how to communicate effectively and appropriately with your ex will benefit your child and make the situation easier. Help Guide recommends the following:
- Establish ground rules during your divorce regarding how and when you will communicate with each other;
- Consider using an online calendar to keeping your ex informed about doctor visits, special events, school functions, and the associated expenses;
- Be reasonable, and make requests rather than demands when it comes to scheduling changes;
- Make it a goal to put personal issues aside, particularly at events both of you will be at with your child.
Contact attorney Vanessa L. Prieto in Fort Lauderdale to find out how you can protect yourself in child time sharing negotiations or to discuss issues that could require a trip back to court. We provide the professional legal representation you need to help ensure you and your child’s rights are protected.