As a parent, your relationship with your children does not end with your divorce, nor does your responsibility to them. Your powers and your duties as a parent continue after the end of your marriage. In legal terms, these comprise your custodial responsibility.
According to the 2020 Florida Statutes, there are two primary aspects of your custodial responsibility: Decision-making authority and caretaking authority.
Minor children do not have the authority or legal status to make important decisions as to where they receive medical care, go to school, etc. You and your co-parent must share this responsibility even after your divorce. The right and responsibility to make such judgments on your children’s behalf is your decision-making authority under Florida law. It is analogous with legal custody as found in other state’s statutes. You almost always share this equally with your co-parent.
Children have the right to spend time with each parent and maintain a relationship even after the divorce. Caretaking authority refers to your responsibility for a child’s basic, day-to-day needs. Caretaking authority includes physical custody, i.e., where your children spend their time following the divorce, but the term is more inclusive. The parenting time arrangements, whether those that you settle on yourselves or those that the court orders for you, are a part of your caretaking authority as well.
As with decision-making authority, you typically share caretaking authority with your ex-spouse unless there is a specific reason that this would not be in your children’s interest. However, unlike decision-making authority, you and your ex may not share caretaking authority equally.