eLaws of Florida

SECTION 744.301. Natural guardians.  


Latest version.
  • 1(1) 2The parents jointly are the natural guardians of their own children and of their adopted children, during minority. If one parent dies, the surviving parent remains the sole natural guardian even if he or she remarries. If the marriage between the parents is dissolved, the natural guardianship belongs to the parent to whom sole parental responsibility has been granted, or if the parents have been granted shared parental responsibility, both continue as natural guardians. If the marriage is dissolved and neither parent is given parental responsibility for the child, neither may act as natural guardian of the child. The mother of a child born out of wedlock is the natural guardian of the child and is entitled to primary residential care and custody of the child unless the court enters an order stating otherwise.
    136(2) 137Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, on behalf of any of their minor children, and without appointment, authority, or bond if the amounts received in the aggregate do not exceed $15,000, natural guardians may:
    173(a) 174Settle and consummate a settlement of any claim or cause of action accruing to any of their minor children for damages to the person or property of any minor children;
    204(b) 205Collect, receive, manage, and dispose of the proceeds of any settlement;
    216(c) 217Collect, receive, manage, and dispose of any real or personal property distributed from an estate or trust;
    234(d) 235Collect, receive, manage, and dispose of and make elections regarding the proceeds from a life insurance policy or annuity contract payable to, or otherwise accruing to the benefit of, the child; and
    267(e) 268Collect, receive, manage, dispose of, and make elections regarding the proceeds of any benefit plan as defined in s. 287710.102, 288of which the minor is a beneficiary, participant, or owner.
    298(3) 299In addition to the authority granted in subsection (2), natural guardians are authorized, on behalf of any of their minor children, to waive and release, in advance, any claim or cause of action against a commercial activity provider, or its owners, affiliates, employees, or agents, which would accrue to a minor child for personal injury, including death, and property damage resulting from an inherent risk in the activity.
    367(a) 368As used in this subsection, the term “inherent risk” means those dangers or conditions, known or unknown, which are characteristic of, intrinsic to, or an integral part of the activity and which are not eliminated even if the activity provider acts with due care in a reasonably prudent manner. The term includes, but is not limited to:
    4251. 426The failure by the activity provider to warn the natural guardian or minor child of an inherent risk; and
    4452. 446The risk that the minor child or another participant in the activity may act in a negligent or intentional manner and contribute to the injury or death of the minor child. A participant does not include the activity provider or its owners, affiliates, employees, or agents.
    492(b) 493To be enforceable, a waiver or release executed under this subsection must, at a minimum, include the following statement in uppercase type that is at least 5 points larger than, and clearly distinguishable from, the rest of the text of the waiver or release:

    537NOTICE TO THE MINOR CHILD’S
    542NATURAL GUARDIAN

    544READ THIS FORM COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. YOU ARE AGREEING TO LET YOUR MINOR CHILD ENGAGE IN A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. YOU ARE AGREEING THAT, EVEN IF ( 571name of released party or parties 577) USES REASONABLE CARE IN PROVIDING THIS ACTIVITY, THERE IS A CHANCE YOUR CHILD MAY BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED BY PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY BECAUSE THERE ARE CERTAIN DANGERS INHERENT IN THE ACTIVITY WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR ELIMINATED. BY SIGNING THIS FORM YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR CHILD’S RIGHT AND YOUR RIGHT TO RECOVER FROM ( 635name of released party or parties 641) IN A LAWSUIT FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, TO YOUR CHILD OR ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT RESULTS FROM THE RISKS THAT ARE A NATURAL PART OF THE ACTIVITY. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SIGN THIS FORM, AND ( 683name of released party or parties 689) HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO LET YOUR CHILD PARTICIPATE IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM.

    707(c) 708If a waiver or release complies with paragraph (b) and waives no more than allowed under this subsection, there is a rebuttable presumption that the waiver or release is valid and that any injury or damage to the minor child arose from the inherent risk involved in the activity.
    7571. 758To rebut the presumption that the waiver or release is valid, a claimant must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the waiver or release does not comply with this subsection.
    7902. 791To rebut the presumption that the injury or damage to the minor child arose from an inherent risk involved in the activity, a claimant must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the conduct, condition, or other cause resulting in the injury or damage was not an inherent risk of the activity.
    8433. 844If a presumption under this paragraph is rebutted, liability and compensatory damages must be established by a preponderance of the evidence.
    865(d) 866Nothing in this subsection limits the ability of natural guardians, on behalf of any of their minor children, to waive and release, in advance, any claim or cause of action against a noncommercial activity provider, or its owners, affiliates, employees, or agents, to the extent authorized by common law.
    915(4) 916All instruments executed by a natural guardian for the benefit of the ward under the powers specified in this section are binding on the ward. The natural guardian may not, without a court order, use the property of the ward for the guardian’s benefit or to satisfy the guardian’s support obligation to the ward.
History.-s. 1, ch. 74-106; s. 8, ch. 75-166; s. 7, ch. 75-222; s. 1, ch. 77-190; s. 3, ch. 79-221; s. 17, ch. 89-96; s. 22, ch. 92-200; s. 66, ch. 95-211; s. 73, ch. 97-170; s. 11, ch. 2002-195; s. 8, ch. 2005-101; s. 3, ch. 2006-178; s. 2, ch. 2010-27; s. 1, ch. 2012-48.

Note

Note.-Created from former s. 744.13.

Bills Cite this Section:

None

Implemented Rule (1):

Cited by Court Cases:

None