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Parental time-sharing set to change in Florida

A new Florida family law statute, Senate Bill 668, is set to make a major change to Florida parental time-sharing after divorce. The new law, which will take effect October 1 if signed by the governor, will include a presumption that both parents should have more or less equal time-sharing with minor children.

The change could result in sweeping changes not only to time-sharing but also to child support. The number of overnights each parent has with the children each year is one of the factors used to determine child support payments.

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar opposed the bill. However, the bill passed the Florida legislature and was presented to the governor for signing in early April. While equal-time sharing may be a good arrangement for some families, it could raise a number of issues:

  • With 50-50 time-sharing, children will not have a permanent home base. Instead, they will split time between parents. For this to work during the school year, parents would need to live in the same school district or within easy commuting range.
  • Some fathers may choose equal time-sharing primarily to reduce their child support obligation.
  • Mothers who want primary residential custody against the father's wishes may choose to litigate. This could result in more child custody litigation, not less.

The change to a presumption of equal parental time-sharing presumption after October 1 will not affect existing parenting time orders. If your current parenting time order does not have equal time-sharing, you will need to show a substantial change in circumstances to modify your parenting time order.

If a divorce is in your future, you should discuss the implications of the law change with an experienced family law attorney. The Law Offices of Tinley Rudd in Sarasota represents men and women in divorce and parenting time cases.

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