The term “custody” is no longer utilized in Florida law. Instead, in Florida we refer to the time each parent spends with the child as “timesharing.” Usually both parents will have timesharing with the child unless the court finds that shared timesharing is not in the best interest of the child.
In Florida, three common types of timesharing are:
- Majority Timesharing;
- Supervised Timesharing; and
- Shared Timesharing.
Majority Timesharing is when one parent has the majority of overnights with the child during the year. Under this timesharing plan, what used to be called the custodial parent is now referred to as the primary residential parent. A traditional timesharing plan under Majority Timesharing would be one parent having the child four days during the week and the other parent have the child every other weekend with the holidays split between them.
Supervised Timesharing occurs in rare and extreme cases and usually is ordered when there are allegations or prior instances of family violence, child abuse, neglect, drug abuse, or alcohol dependence. In those cases, a judge may decide that a third person should be present for any visits (to supervise) between a parent and child.
Equal timesharing is where both parents have an equal number of overnights during the year. A common Equal Timesharing schedule would be where the child alternates which parent they stay with every other week. This schedule allows for the child to have equal contact with each parent.
It is the public policy of the State of Florida 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 timesharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child. However, some counties in Florida now commence their timesharing evaluation with the presumption that Equal Timesharing is in the best interest of the minor children.
Research shows that children who spend equal time with their parents tend to create stronger bonds with each parent. It is important to note that the positive benefits of the Equal Timesharing work best in cases where there is little or no conflict between the parents. Likewise, shared time arrangements work well when they are child-focused, flexible and cooperative.
Many times, timesharing is the most difficult part of a divorce. You need a serious lawyer to advocate for the most important issue during your divorce: your time with your children! Call Robert Sparks Attorneys to learn more about your rights and options.