The term custody is no longer utilized in Florida law; custody is now referred to as timesharing. Both parents will have timesharing with the child unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. Evidence that a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence creates a rebuttable presumption of detriment to the child. This is unusual and parents can still be entitled to “supervised timesharing,” even if they are not awarded traditional timesharing. Fla. Stat. § 61.13. Here are a few timesharing agreements recognized in Florida:
A majority timesharing arrangement refers to when one parent has a majority of overnights (50.1% or more) with the child during the year. The parent with the majority of overnights is commonly referred to as the primary residential parent.
An equal timesharing arrangement refers to a scenario where both parents have an equal number of overnights during the year.
In rare and extreme cases, when there are allegations or prior instances of family violence, child abuse, neglect, untreated severe mental health disorders, drug abuse or alcohol dependence, a judge may decide that a third person should be present for any visits between a parent and child. This arrangement is referred to as supervised timesharing.
The timesharing schedule set by the court is mandated by Florida Statute 61.13 (3). How it is decided is based on the consideration of various factors including the capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and always act in the best interest of the child. The moral fitness, mental and physical health of each parent is also of primary importance and whether they have demonstrated the ability to facilitate a close and enduring relationship with the child. The court reviews the child’s home, school and community record and whether the parents can personally provide care on a regular basis rather than delegate this responsibility to a third party.
There is no one-shoe-fit-all schedule for families separating with minor children. Contact our experienced family law attorneys to discuss what the best case scenario is for you.