Before a divorce both parents are legally the natural guardians of their minor children and have joint and equal rights regarding time-sharing and decision making. The same is not true where a child is born out of wedlock, in which case a paternity action must be filed to establish the parental rights of the father or non-birth parent.
Shared parental responsibility is where both parents are legally determined to have equal legal rights to make decisions concerning their children’s health, education, and welfare. Sole parental responsibility is where one parent, and not the other parent, is legally empowered to make decisions concerning the minor child. The Court also has the option to grant one parent ultimate responsibility over specific areas of a child’s welfare, even where shared parental responsibility is ordered.
Florida public policy favors shared parental responsibility. The goal of shared parental responsibility is to encourage both parents to be fully involved in their children’s lives. Only where shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to a child will the Court establish sole parental responsibility.