Divorce Attorney Scott J. Stadler

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Beginning October 1, 2008 the terms “custodial parent” “primary residential parent”, and “visitation” were stricken from the law. They now have no meaning under Florida law. Instead of “visitation” the term to use is time-sharing”.

Florida Statute 61.046(17) defines the term “Shared Parental Responsibility” as “a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child, and in which both parents confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.”

Florida Statute 61.13(2)(a)(c)(1) it is the public policy of Florida to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after separation or divorce, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan.

Florida Statute 61.046(23 defines “Time-Sharing Schedule” as a timetable that specifies the time, including overnights and holidays, that a minor child will spend with each parent. If developed and agreed to by the parents, it must be approved by the court or established by the court if the parents cannot agree

Florida Statute 61.046(14) defines the term “Parenting Plan” as a document created to govern the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and must contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being. In creating the plan, all circumstances between the parents, including their historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 61.13(3) for the purposes of establishing and modifying parenting responsibility and creating, developing, approving or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, the best interest of the minor child is the primary consideration.

Factors the Judge Must Consider in Determining a Time-Sharing Schedule

Pursuant to Florida Statute 61.13(3)(a-t) the following factors the Court must consider all of the following criteria in determining a timesharing schedule between the parents and the children:

  1. (a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.
  2. (b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
  3. (c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
  4. (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  5. (e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
  6. (f) Moral fitness of the parents.
  7. (g) Mental and physical health of the parents.
  8. (h) Home, school, and community record of the child.
  9. (i) Reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express preference.
  10. (j) Demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
  11. (k) Demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
  12. (l) Demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
  13. (m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.
  14. (n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
  15. (o) Particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
  16. (p) Demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  17. (q) Demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent in an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
  18. (r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
  19. (s) Developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
  20. (t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.

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