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Parental Responsibility vs. Timesharing in Florida: What is the Difference?


Many Floridians think that timesharing and parental responsibility are two interlinked things, while others consider these two terms practically synonymous. Under Florida family law, allocations and provisions regarding the parents’ responsibilities and obligations must be included in each child custody order.

These provisions and allocations contain parents’ duties and responsibilities as well as timesharing allocations, which is why some people may fail to differentiate between parental responsibility and timesharing. However, Florida law recognizes them as two distinct concepts.

If you have questions regarding child timesharing, your parental rights or responsibilities, consult an Orlando child custody attorney.

What Are Parental Responsibilities in Florida?

Florida law recognizes three types of parental responsibilities that relate to the parent’s involvement in making major decisions in the child’s life, such as education, childcare, healthcare, religion, and others.

  • Sole Parental Responsibility is applicable when only one parent is involved in the decision-making process.
  • Shared Parental Responsibility applies when both parents make parenting decisions together.
  • Shared Parental Responsibility with Ultimate Responsibility is applicable when one parent has the ultimate choice for certain aspects of the child’s life.

What is Child Timesharing in Florida?

Basically, timesharing is the equivalent of child custody awards. The specific timesharing schedule for each parent and child is determined after considering a variety of factors.

The timesharing schedule can be established by submitting a parenting plan to the Orlando or other Florida court. The parenting plan can be agreed upon by the parents. Otherwise, it will be up to the judge to determine the schedule.

Florida recognizes three types of timesharing arrangements:

  • Majority Time-Sharing, which refers to when on parent has a majority of overnights with the child in a given year. The parent with the majority of overnights is referred to as the primary residential parent.
  • Equal Time-Sharing is when both parents have an equal number of overnights in a given year. Typically, this arrangement is less common than the Majority Time-Sharing schedule.
  • Supervised Time-Sharing refers to cases where one parent can visit the child in the presence of a third party. This arrangement is applicable when the parent has prior instances of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, untreated drug abuse or alcohol addiction, severe mental health disorders, or other factors that may endanger the child.

Parental Responsibility vs. Timesharing: What is the Difference?

Just because a parent is involved in the decision-making process does not necessarily mean that he or she will be awarded the Majority or Equal Time-Sharing. Due to the differences between these two concepts, it is not uncommon for parents with shared parental responsibility to have less than 50% of the timesharing.

Timesharing is the amount of time the child spends with each parent, while parental responsibility refers to the delegation of the major life decisions to the child’s parents.

It is critical to understand the differences between parental responsibility and timesharing when agreeing upon a child custody order. Consider talking to an Orlando family law attorney to learn more about your parental responsibilities, rights, obligations, and timesharing. Contact Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee for a free case evaluation. Do not hesitate to call at 407-521-7171.


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