By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Monday, February 23, 2015.

The Florida legislature passed a bill making a presumption of equal timesharing mandatory. The bill was vetoed by the governor. Is another bill likely? If Nebraska is any indication, the answer is yes.

Last week a Nebraska senator introduced a bill that would encourage judges to more fairly divide custody between separated parents, and requires that judges split custody by at least 65/35, unless there are circumstances in a case that warrantless visitation.

The senator says it’s important for kids to have both parents in their lives.

“Parents and kids alike, you know, thrive off of each other. The things that a young lady or a young man get from their parents are different. Moms and dads are different creatures and so it’s good for them to have exposure to both.”

She added that the bill would also benefit extended family members.

“If you’ve got one parent getting significantly less time with their kids, it also means that their grandparents may be getting less time with their kids. I’ve had several grandmothers call me and say hey, my son only gets one weekend a month with his kids which means that I never see my granddaughters.”

Last year I spoke at the FLAFCC regional workshop discussing the pros and cons of the equal timesharing presumption. I’ve also written about it before.

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 arguments 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 time-sharing 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 2015 Legislative session starting next month, and bills in committee, this is an interesting area to keep your eye on.

The article on Nebraska’s new bill can be found here.

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