The Presumption of 50/50 timesharing
Is it going to actually pass as a law?
The presumption of 50/50 timesharing is a hot topic concern in the halls of justice in Florida. For several years the family law community has been debating whether to take the 50/50 timesharing issue from letting a judge determine its usage for the care and nurturing of minor children to making this presumption a law. Several attempts have been made to have appropriate bills passed and signed, but to date, this has not happened. However, at present, there is a strong bill that is making its way through the Florida law-making process, and as of March 8, 2022, Bill 1395 was laid on the table of the Florida Senate. The bill reads as follows: Revises various provisions relating to the dissolution of marriage and alimony; creates presumption that equal timesharing is in the best interests of a minor child; creates a presumption for purposes of modifying parenting plan, of time-sharing schedule; authorizes separate adjudication in issues of dissolution of marriage under certain circumstances; provides for temporary orders to protect parties and their children.” It is hoped the bill will be passed and signed July 1, 2022.
Parental timesharing is now the term used in Florida Family Court rather than custody, to determine, in most cases, how a minor child (a child from birth through age l8 and beyond if physical or mental problems prevent a child from supporting themselves) will be cared for. Included in the timesharing agreement will be where the child will live, a parenting plan, and the requirement that medical, discipline, educational, and spiritual decisions regarding the child will be made by both parents together. There is no more sole custody unless either or both parents are incarcerated, mentally or physically unfit to properly care for the child, have a severe drug or alcohol addiction, or have been convicted, or there is an active case of child abuse or domestic violence. The 50/50 rule in timesharing refers to the fact that the plan adjudicated will, as reasonably as possible, set a schedule that will divide the overnights with their child as evenly as possible between each parent. The division is done in different ways, including every other night, every other week or month, or most common, divide the weeknights and give each parent every other weekend. Holidays, birthdays, and vacations are divided in the parenting plan.
As with most bills, there are opposing opinions, some for and some against. Those who oppose the bill feel that without a judge being able to look at each case individually to determine what is in the best interests of the child and family, there will be times when a 50/50 rule won’t work well. At present, there are 20 guidelines found in Florida Statute 61.13(3) that a judge will consider before ruling on parental timesharing. If the bill passes, some of these guidelines will remain, but most would be revised, and some eliminated. If a judge feels 50/50 timesharing would not be in the best interest of the child, they will need to initiate a court order supported by written findings. Those who strongly support Bill 1395 argue that judges’ opinions of what is best for a child are varied to the point that some rulings are not in the best interest of the child, and there is at present no law in place to enforce more uniform rulings.
It will be interesting to see the final outcome of Bill 1395 regarding the presumption of 50/50 timesharing. If you are looking for a Family Law attorney to help you through an anticipated dissolution of marriage (divorce) and you have minor children, Attorney Grant Gisondo is a board-certified Marital and Family Law attorney who has over a decade of successful years practicing in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, and Hillsborough Counties in Florida and New York and Washington DC. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where you can find out more about 50/50 timesharing for your minor child. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:AM to 5:PM and for new clients on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Please call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment. To learn more about Attorney Gisondo, you can check out his website at gisondolaw.com.