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What’s The Difference Between Time-Sharing and Parental Responsibility?

Posted on March 8, 2022

If you have children and are seeking a divorce in Florida, one of the key elements of your divorce is your parenting plan, which is a document that specifies how you and your ex-spouse will co-parent your children. Two of the items that the parenting plan delineates are time-sharing and parental responsibility. Many parents are surprised to learn that these are two separate concepts. Let’s take a look at what each of these mean for your rights and obligations as a parent:  ­


As the name suggests, time-sharing is the time that you spend with your children. This could include school days, weekends, vacation days, and holidays. There are three potential timesharing options:

  1. Equal time-sharing. This means that each parent spends 50% of the time with the child. For example, the child would alternate living with each parent on a weekly basis. According to Florida law, equal timesharing is the preferred outcome of a parenting plan. In practice though, equal time-sharing may not always be practical due to logistical considerations, such as work schedules, distance the parents live from one another, schooling, and other family situations.
  • Majority time-sharing: This is when one parent receives more than 50% of the time-sharing. This is a common outcome of parenting plans. An example of this could be the child living with one parent during the week and another on weekends and vacations.
  • Supervised time-sharing: This is when one parent spends only a limited amount of time with the child and must do so in the presence of a third party. This arrangement is typically reserved for situations that involve parental drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse.

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility is being responsible for making major life decisions for the child. Some examples are choices related to health, discipline, schooling, and religion. A parent could have one of three levels of parental responsibility:

  1. Shared parental responsibility: In this case, both parents are equally responsible for making all the child’s major life decisions together. Similar to equal time-sharing, shared responsibility is the court’s preferred outcome.
  • Shared parental responsibility with ultimate authority: It is not always possible for both parents to agree on all the child’s life decisions. In these cases, the parents are both assigned shared parental responsibility, but each one is assigned specific areas of the child’s life where each is the ultimate decision-maker.
  • Sole parental responsibility: In this situation, one parent has the decision-making rights for all facets of the child’s life.  Similar to supervised time-sharing, this is reserved for situations of abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol dependence, or severe physical or mental health problems.

Time-sharing and parental responsibility together encompass being involved in your child’s day-to-day life as well as taking an active part in their long-term decisions. To learn more about parenting plans, or how to modify your existing parenting plan, contact Troy Legal. We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for your parenting rights.

Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce.  Troy Legal, P.A. is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.

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Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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