Understanding Child Time-Sharing in a Florida Divorce

Our West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Answers Common Questions About Florida Time-Sharing

Photo of the Pros and Cons of Collaborative DivorceSome divorces are emotional and contentious, especially divorces that involve children. Parents may fight over child support and child custody. When parents cannot agree on a time-sharing plan, it may be necessary for a divorce court to have a role in creating the plan. The time-sharing schedule, or parenting plan, can be evenly split. However, courts may sometimes grant one parent more time with a child than the other parent.

In Florida, parents have shared responsibility raising the children unless not permitted by the circumstances. Florida courts take the child’s best interest into account when deciding on child time-sharing arrangements.

What Are the Different Types of Time-Sharing Arrangements?

Majority Time-Sharing

Time-sharing is not always evenly split. Courts may give one parent more time with the child than the other parent. For example, if one parent has the child for four nights out of the week, but the other has the child for only three nights, then it is a majority time-sharing arrangement.

Equal Time-Sharing

Parents may receive an equal amount of time with their children. For example, if a child alternates between parents each week, it would be an example of an equal-time sharing arrangement.

Supervised Time-Sharing

Florida divorce courts may determine that one parent is a danger to the child. Supervised time-sharing may be necessary in cases that involve allegations of abuse or neglect. Additionally, if one parent has severe mental illness, a history of family violence or suffers from drug abuse, the court may require that a third person be present to supervise.

How Do Courts Determine Time-Sharing?

Judges may take many factors into account when deciding on time-sharing. Factors that determine time-sharing may include:

  • How parental responsibilities are allocated between family members, including immediate relatives like aunts, uncles or grandparents;
  • Whether there is a history of child abuse, domestic violence, or drug abuse involving one parent;
  • How long the child has lived at his or her current location and whether the living arrangement is in his or her best interest;
  • How far away the parents live from each other;
  • How well equipped each parent is to provide for the child’s needs;
  • In some cases, the preference of the child.

These are only a few examples of factors that may become important when creating a time-sharing schedule. We encourage you to contact our Florida divorce lawyer to learn more about time-sharing options for your situation.

When Do Judges Modify Time-Sharing Arrangements?

There are scenarios where a judge may modify a time-sharing plan. Potential reasons to modify a plan include:

  • Relocation. If one parent relocates to another part of the country, then it could necessitate changing the time-sharing agreement. Parents must petition the court and provide evidence that moving would be mutually beneficial for them and their children.
  • Time-sharing violations. If one parent repeatedly violates a time-sharing agreement, then it may be necessary to change the terms of the agreement.
  • Substance abuse disorder. Judges may modify time-sharing agreements in cases where one parent abuses alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Physical or sexual abuse. Judges may modify a time-sharing agreement if one parent provides evidence the other parent is physically or sexually abusing the child.
  • The child requests a change. Older children may ask the court to go live with the other parent.

Can I Obtain Sole Custody in Florida?

Sole custody does not exist in Florida. In fact, a Florida court has not awarded a parent sole custody since 2008. You cannot prevent your former spouse from spending time with your child in most cases. However, there could be ways to limit the amount of time your child spends with your former spouse. Contact us to learn more about options for time-sharing in Florida.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer to Learn More

Our West Palm Beach divorce lawyer can answer any questions you have about time-sharing during a divorce. To schedule a consultation with The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire P.A. P.A., call (561) 677-8090 or use the contact form on our site.

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