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What is Shared Parental Responsibility?

The Florida Legislature has defined “shared parental responsibility” as a court ordered relationship between parents of a minor child in which both parents confer with each other and make decisions that affect their child jointly. The parents should consult with each other on decisions regarding the child’s religious upbringing, discipline, financial, moral, social, recreational and legal matters, school and educational matters and non-emergency health care, both medical and dental. As a tenet of shared parental responsibility, the parents are to conduct themselves in a mature and proper manner, and avoid heated conflicts in front of the children. If the child becomes sick, the parents should notify the other parent immediately of any illness. The same goes for any accidents the children are involved in. Both parents have the right to know if their child is sick or injured while in the care of the other parent. Also, the parents should have free access to records pertaining to the children, such as medical records, school records and dental records.

Each parent should be entitled to authorize emergency medical treatment for the child. Further, the parents should openly encourage the children to have free access and a healthy relationship with the other parent. The parents should facilitate contact with the other parent while the child is in their care, such as making sure the children call or e-mail the other parent. The courts get very concerned when a parent actively tries to estrange the children for the other parent. If parents fail to create a loving environment that encourages and fosters a health relationship with the other they could be subject to severe penalties, such as contempt, imprisonment or loss of time sharing with the minor child.

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