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Understanding Time Sharing Under Florida Law

Parents involved in divorce no longer argue about legal custody, primary physical custody or visitation rights. Instead, they work through the details of time-sharing arrangements in the new mandatory parenting plans required in Florida divorce since our statutes were amended, effective October 2008.

To learn how your rights and responsibilities as a divorcing parent may have changed since the new law came into effect, contact Brodie & Friedman in Boca Raton. Our lawyers have kept pace with changes in state law, court rules and public policies for as long as we have been in practice. We can help you work through the new approach to parental time sharing

Just What Does Time Sharing Mean Exactly?

Time sharing is the term now used to cover what used to be meant by physical child custody and parenting time. Rather than making a somewhat artificial distinction between custody and visitation, the law now recognizes that labels aren’t nearly as important as the quality and depth of each parent’s relationship with his or her own children, even (or perhaps especially) after divorce.

Time sharing is an essential component of the parenting plan that divorcing parents are encouraged to develop together when their marriage dissolves. The parenting plan can address matters of basic parental responsibility, such as decisions about school, religion, travel, medical care and other matters formerly covered under the term legal custody.

Stipulations as to time sharing address the question of which parent is to be with the child at what times. Time-sharing arrangements should also take into account such details as pickup and drop-off, distance and travel times, day care, the child’s educational and social needs, holidays, and backup plans if an emergency prevents a parent from punctual compliance. Parents should also spell out things like phone, e-mail or text contact when the child is staying with the other parent.

A parenting plan should specify a detailed schedule covering a period of a year, a school year or some similar block of time with a provision for substantially similar arrangements for the following period. That detailed schedule is what constitutes the time-sharing agreement.

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