Florida law outlines the rights parents have to their child, including the right to raise their child. Florida law also outlines the responsibilities parents have to their child, including the responsibility to provide for the child’s basic needs. These rights and responsibilities factor into time-sharing arrangements ordered by the court.
Sometimes, a parent will wrongfully try to influence the court into granting them a greater share of time with the child or they may try to deny the child’s other parent parenting time altogether. One way a parent might do so is by claiming the other parent’s work commitments make them an unfit parent and constitute neglect of the child.
Child neglect and time-sharing in Florida
Parents in Florida may be denied shared parental responsibility and time-sharing rights if necessary to preserve the child’s best interests. In such cases, the child’s other parent will have sole parental responsibility, and any time-sharing arrangements made must protect the child from future harm.
Time-sharing decisions are based on the best interests of the child. One of these interests is protecting the child from neglect.
Can a parent’s work obligations lead to child neglect?
Child neglect is defined in Florida law as a parent’s failure to provide the child with the care, supervision and services necessary to preserve the child’s health and well-being. This means parents must provide children with adequate food, clothing, housing, supervision and health care. Courts may find a parent has neglected a child even if the neglect is based on a single incident that could have or did result in serious injury or risk of death to the child.
As this shows, the bar for committing child neglect is high, and a parent’s work obligations likely will not rise to the level of neglect for time-sharing purposes. As long as the parent’s job duties do not prevent them from meeting the child’s physical and mental needs and as long as the parent provides adequate child care for the child while they are at work, they are likely not neglecting their child. Thus, they should not be denied their parental rights to their child due to their work obligations.