On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Child custody is on everyone’s mind again as the Florida Legislature prepares for its March 2014 session. Last year, Governor Scott vetoed a bill with a presumption that parents always have equal timesharing with their children. This week I spoke at the FLAFCC regional workshop discussing the pros and cons of that presumption.

Fifty-fifty timesharing between parents may sound 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 raised at the workshop:

Pro

  • Each year, cases are tied up in court to establish a right to see children that parents would automatically have if they were married.
  • An equal time presumption promotes 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.

The FLAFCC workshop was well attended. Family lawyers, family division judges, expert psychologists and interested people were able to break out into teams, listen to lectures and watch movies on the issue.

With the 2014 Legislative session starting next month, and bills already in committee, this is an interesting time to keep your eye on this issue.

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