I’ve been reviewing Florida’s family law statutes in detail and can tell you they lie better than any State I have seen so far. Under Florida’s statute 61.13(2)(c)2. it says “The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.” This sounds really good and makes it sound like Florida supports equal parenting. They make this lie even sweeter and more convincing in statute 61.046 where they define terms. They define shared parenting responsibility as “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child…” This sounds really great. You get to keep all of your rights as a parent and what’s more you get to keep equal responsibility, so no child support. If you just read this you would think that Florida is a model state.
FLORIDA STATUTES LIE
PARENTS IN DIVORCE HAVE ZERO RIGHTS
If you go back to 61.13(2)(c)2. and read further to sub-sections a. and b. you will see that the Florida Legislature pulls the rug completely out from under divorcing parents. You thought they were supporting your rights but here they take them completely away. Under sub-section a. they say that the court “may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare or may divide those responsibilities between the parties based on the best interest of the child.” In other words, the court can deny you any parental right it wants based on nothing more than its opinion of your child’s best interest. The term “shared parenting” is a sham but it gets even worse.
Under sub-section b. it states that “The court shall order sole parental responsibility for a minor child to one parent, with or without time-sharing with the other parent if it is in the best interests of the child.” In other words your rights as a parent can be completely terminated based on nothing more than the Judge’s opinion. Under this sub-section you can be ordered “shared parenting” and have zero rights and zero time with your child.
So if you have zero rights and zero time with your child in Florida, you can look on the bright side and say, “but I have a ‘shared parenting’ order” if that gives you any consolation.
I think the Florida Legislature sold its parents some swamp land to build their house on.