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Understanding Florida Time-Sharing Laws

Child time sharing refers to the amount of time each parent spends with a child. Child time-sharing laws in Florida help determine the time a parent spends with the child from the union of two people. There are several different types of time-sharing arrangements in Florida that can be created to best suit the child’s needs. Our attorney can help represent you and arrange these types of agreements for the best interest of your child or children.

How Is Child Time-Sharing Determined In Florida?

Child time-sharing is determined by looking at the situation of both parents and the needs of the child. A judge will look at any and all factors related to parenting to determine the best decision pursuant to Florida Statute §61.13(3). Health and safety are the most important factors in relation to determining how time-sharing arrangements are made. Parents may lose or have reduced time-sharing or visitation if there is evidence of violence, addiction or abuse. Other factors considered may be looking at the mental/physical health of the parent and any evidence of substance abuse or mental illness.

A judge will look at each parent and their ability or desire to meet their child’s emotional, learning, and developmental needs, such as determining which parent is involved in school activities and which parent provides a routine for the child on a daily basis. A judge also may consider if the parents can co-parent effectively and whether they have effective communication skills in doing so.

Allocation Of Time And Responsibility

These are among the most common time-sharing options in Florida:

  • Shared parental responsibility: Both parents have the legal authority to confer and make major decisions on behalf of the child.  Florida Statute §61.13 provides the Court must order parental responsibility for a child be shared between the parents, unless the Court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.  Shared parental responsibility contemplates that the parties will mutually confer on major decisions, such as medical, religious, and educational, affecting the child’s welfare and will reach an agreement.
  • Shared parental responsibility with Ultimate Decision-Making Authority:  Both parents have the legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including education and healthcare.  However, in the event there is a disagreement amongst the parents, or one parent is an absentee parent, one parent may be awarded the ultimate decision-making authority over the major decision.  The Court may award ultimate decision-making authority over certain issues if it finds it is in the best interest of the child.  In doing so, the Court must make findings to support its assignment of such right.
  • Sole parental responsibility: Only one parent has legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child, including those involving schooling and health care.  In awarding sole parental responsibility, the Court must find that shared parental responsibility is detrimental to a child.
  • Majority time-sharing: The child lives with one parent the majority of the time, and the other parent is granted reasonable access to the child.
  • Equal time-sharing: Shared time sharing between the parents, with the child living with each parent approximately 50% of the year.
  • Supervised time-sharing: The child lives with one parent for the majority of the time, and the other parent is provided time-sharing at a supervised center or in the presence of an agreed-upon, court-approved supervisor.  Upon the parent’s successful completion of a supervised time-sharing plan, the parent’s time-sharing will revert to unsupervised time-sharing.

As children grow and circumstances change, their needs may change as well, which could affect time-sharing arrangements.

Contact Florida Lawyers Protecting Your Parental Rights

At Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami & Andux, we offer legal consultations to those needing our legal knowledge. In order to learn more about the legal services we offer and to schedule an important consultation with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible, call 904-717-7747.