FAQs About Timesharing In Florida
Unlike many other states, Florida does not use the term child custody in divorce cases that involve children. Instead, the Florida statutes refers to the time each parent spends with their children after divorce as ‘time sharing’, or ‘visitation.’ Timesharing is important because unless the case is an extreme one, such as one that involves domestic violence or substance abuse, the courts will presume that it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with both parents.
Still, sometimes this is not practical, or other issues come up and you may have many questions. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about timesharing in Florida, and the answers to them.
Are There Different Types of Timesharing in Florida?
There are different types of timesharing scenarios that can occur after two parents get a divorce. These are as follows:
- Equal time sharing: The option the courts will always strive for is equal time sharing. This is when each parent spends 50 percent of the time with the child. Sometimes, the child will alternate homes on a weekly basis, or the parents can reach another arrangement that is more practical for them.
- Majority time sharing: Equal time sharing is not always possible, particularly if the parents do not live close to each other. Majority time sharing occurs when one parent spends the majority of time with the child and their address is used as the child’s address for school and healthcare purposes.
- Supervised time sharing: Used only in extreme cases when one parent is considered to pose a danger to the child, supervised time sharing is sometimes necessary. With this type of timesharing, the parent that poses a risk is supervised by another adult during their time with the child.
What is the Difference Between Shared Parental Responsibility and Sole Parental Responsibility?
In the last few years, Florida law has changed from using terms such as ‘custody’ to using terms such as ‘parental responsibility.’ The reason for the change was so parents would accept the idea that they were both responsible for a child’s well-being after divorce. Shared parental responsibility involves both parents working together to determine the best interests of the child when making big decisions for them. Sole parental responsibility is when only one parent makes decisions for the child.
How Does the Court Make Time-Sharing Decisions?
When determining whether one or both parents will have parental responsibility, and what time-sharing arrangement is appropriate, a judge evaluates all of the factors affecting the welfare and interest of the particular child and the circumstances of that family. These factors are used by the judge to determine the best interests of the child. Some of these factors include the length of time the child has lived in a stable environment, the driving distance between parents with special attention to school age children, and whether either parent has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
Do I Need a Florida Family Lawyer for My Time-Sharing Case?
Yes. Issues involving children are some of the most contentious and complex of any divorce case, and an Orlando family lawyer can help you through the process. At O’Mara Law Group, we can advise on all the factors a judge will take into consideration, and build you a strong case to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to obtain the sound legal advice you need.