A Presumption of Equal Timesharing: Pros and Cons

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

Florida divorce has tons of legal presumptions. This month Governor Scott vetoed a Senate bill that created another one: a presumption of equal timesharing.

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 pros and cons:

Pro

  • Each year, cases are tied up in expensive litigation to establish a right to timesharing that, had the parents not been divorced, they would automatically have.
  • If we presume children should spend equal time with both parents, it would encourage Florida’s existing policy of frequent contact with both parents after divorce.
  • Equal timesharing reduces the amount of custody litigation that takes place in Florida, sparing children from being dragged into the middle of bitter custody battles.
  • Equal timesharing puts the burden on the parent opposing equal timesharing, changing the dynamics of custody litigation.
  • A presumption of equal timesharing could discourage people from engaging in custody litigation that serves no purpose other than to cause unnecessary expense, and significant unnecessary stress on the other parent.
  • Equal timesharing is consistent with Florida’s existing no-fault concept.

Con

  • Equal timesharing is unworkable in many families;
  • A presumption of equal time can never be implemented;
  • The presumption of equal timesharing creates a uniform rule where the flexibility of ‘the best interest of the child’ is needed.
  • An equal timesharing presumption won’t lead to an increase in the number of equal timesharing schedules;
  • Equal timesharing may force some children into arrangements that is not in their best interests, and focuses the court’s attention on the quantity of parenting time, not the quality of parenting;
  • A presumption in favor of equal time might replace the best interest of the child test in decision-making.

So, will equal timesharing save children from custody battles, and lead to more time with both parents? Or is the presumption of equal timesharing just distracting courts from focusing on the quality of parenting and forcing them to only consider the quantity of parenting?

The text of Senate bill 718 can be read here.

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