Understanding Florida Child Custody Law



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Understanding Florida Child Custody Law

Author: FWLG
Date: Jun 10 2015

There are several aspects of Florida child custody that are different from custody arrangements in many other states. For instance, the term “custody” isn’t used in Florida law. Parents have time-sharing arrangements with their children rather than custody. The type of time-sharing arrangement is reflected in the terms “majority time-sharing” or “equal time-sharing.” There is also no concept of visitation in Florida custody arrangements either; the amount of time each parent spends with the child is determined by the time-sharing arrangement. In extreme cases, such as when one parent has an addiction problem, supervised time-sharing or no time-sharing at all might be ordered by the court.

Child support is based on the guidelines in a child support worksheet. The factors taken into consideration are things such as income, the amount of time the children spend with each parent, and expenses such as health insurance and daycare costs. If one parent increases the time he or she has the children for visits that include overnight stays, he or she usually needs to pay less child support. Children can have input into the time-sharing arrangement, depending on their age.

Military parents who are deployed for longer than 90 days can designate a family member to take over the deployed parent’s time-sharing responsibilities.

In Florida, the court establishes a parenting plan for every divorce in which are children involved. The parenting plan includes the time-sharing schedule, a time-sharing schedule for the holidays, and provisions for contact between the parents, education, childcare, and extracurricular activities.

Before the parenting plan is issued, temporary orders are drawn up that include provisions for child support and time-sharing. If the parents can’t agree on a schedule, the court orders the schedule it thinks will be best for the children. The parenting plan and the amount of child support can be modified if circumstances change, and parents can petition to have the parenting plan changed. The courts also sometimes overrule the original terms based on the children’s best interests.

When granting time-sharing, the courts look most favorably on the parent who seems most involved in the lives of their children. It’s also important that the parent has proper accommodations for the children, including toys and games.

If you’re divorcing your husband, we understand the stress you’re under – especially if you have children. We’re always here to help guide you through this challenging time. Please contact us today to learn more!


Florida Women’s Law Group