By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Friday, October 9, 2015.

I’m becoming a broken record. Equal timesharing and alimony reform are hot political issues in Florida. . . again. The Senate has proposed a new bill, a lot earlier this year. What’s inside?

I’ve written about the Legislature’s past attempts to reform alimony many times. Senate Bill 250 is the latest attempt to do away with permanent alimony, and create a set of guidelines to automatically calculate the amount of alimony awardable, and the term for how many years alimony would last.

With respect to alimony amounts, the bill establishes alimony guidelines, and presumptive alimony ranges. The presumptive amounts are determined by formulas based on the difference between the parties’ gross incomes and the length of the marriage. The bill also limits the duration of alimony to 25% or 75 % of the length of the marriage.

New Senate bill 250 adds something to timesharing too: equal timesharing for moms and dads:

Approximately equal time-sharing with a minor child by both parents is presumed to be in the best interest of the child..

While the bill establishes a presumption that approximately equal timesharing with a child by both parents is in the child’s best interest, a court will still be able to order unequal timesharing if unequal timesharing is supported by written findings of fact.

Fifty-fifty timesharing between parents sounds like a great idea, and there are strong arguments for and against a presumption of equal timesharing. Here are some of the argument for and against a presumption in favor of equal timesharing:

Pro

Each year, cases are tied up in court to establish a right to see their children that they would automatically have if they were married.

An equal time presumption promote Florida’s existing policy of frequent contact after divorce.

Equal timesharing puts the burden on the parent opposing equal timesharing, changing the dynamics of custody litigation.

Equal timesharing is consistent with Florida’s existing no-fault concept.

Con

Requiring every family to have equal timesharing is like requiring every family to wear a size 4 shoe. Not every family fits.

The presumption creates a uniform rule where the flexibility of ‘the best interest of the child’ is needed.

Requires courts to focus on QUANTITY of time instead of QUALITY of time.

Requires courts to focus on what’s best for the parents instead of what’s in the child’s best interest.

With the 2016 Legislative set to begin early on January 12, 2016, this Legislative session promises to be an interesting one.

The text of SB 250 is available here.

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