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West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney > Blog > Family Law > Can I Make All Parenting Decisions?

Can I Make All Parenting Decisions?


As a parent moving toward divorce, you may have questions about who will make decisions about your child’s upbringing moving forward. While courts throughout Florida favor shared parental responsibility, there are situations where one parent may be granted complete authority to make calls on education, healthcare, and other child rearing decisions.

Talk to a West Palm Beach family attorney if you believe you should have complete decision-making authority. While courts typically encourage both parents to remain actively involved in their child’s life, there is a legal process to follow if you have proof that your child’s other parent sharing in decision-making responsibilities would be harmful.

Obtaining the Right to Make All Upbringing Decisions

Courts do not take the option of sole parental responsibility lightly. Typically, family courts start with the presumption of shared parental responsibility. To be granted complete decision-making authority, a parent must provide compelling evidence that shared responsibility would be doing a disservice to the child. This could be true if any of the following are true.

  • Living considerations are not appropriate. If the other parent cannot provide a stable and safe living environment that will allow a child to grow and thrive, it will support a parent’s effort to secure sole parental responsibility.
  • Mental health concerns. Untreated mental health issues that impair a parent’s ability to make sound decisions can be grounds for awarding sole parental responsibility to the other parent.
  • Neglect or abuse. A documented history of abuse, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect could lead a court to deem it unsafe for that parent to have decision-making abilities.
  • Addiction issues. Parental addiction to drugs or alcohol may lead to them being considered unfit to participate in key decisions affecting the child’s welfare.

Whether one or more of these apply to your family, gathering documentation to prove your position is essential. A lawyer who has helped other parents in a similar situation knows what evidence you need to secure in order to demonstrate that shared parental responsibility would not be beneficial for your child. For some this includes medical records and police reports while others lean on witness testimonies.

Parenting Plans, Mediation Sessions, and Negotiation

As soon as you connect with a West Palm Beach family attorney, they can begin the process of working with you to create a comprehensive parenting plan that outlines your proposed arrangement. This plan should address all aspects of your child’s upbringing and demonstrate how sole parental responsibility will benefit them.

With documentation and planning, court may be avoided, disputes can often be resolved through mediation rather than litigation. A lawyer can facilitate these discussions, aiming to reach an agreement that serves your child’s best interests without the need for an expensive, contentious court battle.

Are you struggling to begin a constructive coparenting relationship with your soon-to-be-ex spouse? The experienced family lawyers at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates can provide ongoing support as you move through the process of crafting a parenting arrangement or fight to secure sole custody. Schedule your confidential consultation today.

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