Time-sharing (formerly known as “child custody”) is the term used in Florida law to describe the time parents spend with their children following separation or divorce. Naturally, one of the biggest concerns of parents in a divorce or paternity action is how much time the parent will be able to spend with his or her child(ren). Having a child custody lawyer who can answer the questions that arise and look out for your best interest is often both beneficial and will give you peace of mind. Child support will also have to be resolved for a divorce with children involved.
Florida law favors involvement of both parents in the lives of child(ren). Florida Statute Section 61.13 states in relevant part “[i]t 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.”
Time-sharing, while often the most important issue in a divorce or paternity case, can also be one of the most complex areas of law to litigate. Florida sets factors to determine how a time-sharing order should be decided; however, the factors still provide Florida judges with substantial discretion when making rulings on time-sharing. Understanding and organizing a case around Florida time-sharing factors is essential.
Here are some of the most important factors found in Florida Statutes Section (3) (a)-(t) courts use when fashioning time-sharing orders:
A. “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.”
Comment: Often times parties in time-sharing disputes want to win by painting the other party in a negative light; however, the first factor in Florida’s time-sharing statute essentially boils down to reasonableness. An attorney who has experience with time-sharing issues can assist parties with being proactive gathering and presenting evidence while presenting the case is a positive and “reasonable” manner.
C. “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.”
Comment: Florida court will look to parents’ motivation for pursuing a particular time-sharing arrangement. Did a parent spend a substantial amount of time with the child(ren)’s activities when the household was intact or is the parent pursuing more time to reduce a support obligation? The Taylor Law Office can provide an objective assessment of a client’s motivation and help the client communicate to the court why the client’s proposed time-sharing is the in best interests of the child(ren).
E. “The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan.”
Comment: The Taylor Law Office has experience helping clients craft a parenting plan and working with clients to plan a transition to maximize clients’ positions with respect to the geographic viability of time-sharing. While the law is important, of equal importance, is providing a sounding board for clients working out the logistics of a proposed time-sharing arrangement and how best to present the arrangement to the Court.
K. “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals and bedtime.”
Comment: The Taylor Law Office will works client to develop and communicate a parenting and time-sharing plan that takes into to consideration the daily’s routine of the client’s children. Being organized in court conveys a positive impression that a client will also be able to maintain organization in the lives of the parents’ child(ren).
If one of the parents is considering moving it is also important to consider child relocation laws in Florida. We are here to assist you to understand all of the factors in Florida’s time-sharing laws and work with you to present your case. Time-sharing, more than almost any area of the law, is about real world practical application.