New Bill Signed by Governor Crist Affects Military Parents

As of July 1, 2010 a new statute regarding military service members and timesharing went into effect.  Governor Crist recently signed House Bill 25 which may be good news to military parents and their family members.

According to this new Florida family law, if a parent is in the military and is activated, deployed, or temporarily assigned to military service on order in excess of 90 days, the parent may be allowed to designate another person to exercise timesharing on the parent's behalf.  The scope of who can be delegated is limited to a family member, stepparent, or relative of the child by marriage.   

There are some other provisions in the statute that must be followed, such as ten day notice requirement.  The statute also allows the other parent to object if they feel the proposed designee's timesharing visitation is not in the best interests of the child.  The statute also allows for the Court to make decisions regarding child support and requiring the service member to enroll the child in Tricare, or other similar benefits.

The statute will not apply to military personnel making permanent station change moves.

Additionally, this new way of delegating timesharing to family members can be decided at the time of dissolution of marriage or other child custody proceedings; a military parent does not have to wait until deployment or activation actually occurs.  It is essential for any military parent who is contemplating a divorce or child custody proceeding to address this issue from the start and appoint a designee. 

It is important to contact an expert Tampa family law attorney to help explain how this new statute applies to your family and to assist you in asserting these new rights granted to military members.