Time Sharing (child custody)
Time Sharing Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Florida’s rules on who gets time with a child are very different compared to other states. Several years ago, Florida abolished the legal definition of child custody and replaced it with time-sharing in 2010. Time-sharing means that the court believes both parents must spend time with the child. Parents must co-operate in raising children even after a divorce, and merely paying child support is not enough. Time-sharing is separate from child support, though time-sharing does factor into the amount of child support the court awards.
Sometimes a parent wants to prevent the other parent from seeing their children, usually by gaining what is known in other states as sole custody. This is very difficult to do in the State of Florida. The statutes explain Florida’s position on the matter:
“It is the public policy of this state that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.???
In other words, the court forces both parents to share parenting responsibilities and time with the children unless there are certain specific circumstances preventing it. Such circumstances include being convicted of first-degree misdemeanor domestic abuse, being incarcerated, or in any circumstance where the state feels it would not be in the best interest of the child for both parents to be involved. If a parent fails to pay child support, that is not an excuse to prevent visitation either. Child support and time-sharing (child custody) are separate considerations in Florida.
Florida requires parents who divorce to agree on a detailed parenting plan or have the courts draw one up for them. The form is located here, though I do not recommend filling it out on your own. That requires additional paperwork. However, if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on the terms inside the document before you have to present to the court, it will make your divorce process smoother. The document covers things like the amount of time each parent will have and when, who is responsible for different types of expenses, and who is responsible for making different types of decisions on behalf of the child.
While this may seem to be an extra layer of complication, and forces you to continue to communicate with your ex-spouse, these are the rules for childrearing after divorce according to the State of Florida. Parenting plans can be modified if there are substantial, unexpected changes in circumstance to one or the other parent. Parents who wish to reduce their child support payments can do so by spending more time with their children, participating in their lives, providing proper accommodation to them, and then demonstrating this to the court.
If you have questions about Florida’s time-sharing system, parenting plans, or would like to know how your plan could be modified, speak with The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances in Fort Lauderdale. Your initial consultation is free.
Going through a family divorce is never easy, especially when there are children involved.MY IMMEDIATE STEPS