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“Time Sharing” & Child Custody
In Family Court, “Time sharing” refers to the number of days each parent is scheduled to spend with minor child(ren).
In Florida, it is public policy that each minor child shall have frequent and continuing contact with both parents upon the separation of the parents or the dissolution of the parties’ marriage to urge the parents to share the rights, responsibilities, and pleasure of raising the minor child(ren).
Factors That Determine the Best Interests of Minors
In a divorce or paternity proceeding, pursuant to Florida Statute § 61.13(3), the Court makes all decisions regarding time sharing based upon the “best interests of the minor child(ren)” based on several factors, including, but not limited to:
- “The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
- The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
- The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against the relocation of either parent with a child.
- The moral fitness of the parents.
- The mental and physical health of the parents.
- The home, school, and community records of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
- The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
- Each parent demonstrated the capacity and disposition to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
- The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
- Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. Suppose the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect. In that case, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
- Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
- The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which third parties undertook parenting responsibilities.
- Each parent demonstrated the capacity and disposition to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
- Each parent demonstrated the capacity and disposition to maintain an environment for the child free from substance abuse.
- The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation are demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
- The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
- Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule”.
It is essential to keep in mind that each divorce and paternity case with timesharing issues is unique, with its own set of contributing factors that the Court must carefully consider. If you are involved in such a case, it is crucial that you understand the law to protect the interests of you and your minor child(ren).
Contact Winig Law today to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney who will guide you through this confusing and daunting process to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your minor child(ren).
A Family Attorney You Can Trust
Stephen L. Winig, Esq. has been a family attorney in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas for forty years. He takes pride in the fact that Winig Law is, in every sense of the phrase, a “family practice.” Everyone walking through our door is afforded the same respect, fairness, and consideration as a trusted relative.
We know how delicate and deeply personal Family Law and Divorce issues are to our clients. We are honored you chose to turn to us.