Child Custody, now known in Florida as Timesharing, can be one of the most contentious parts of any Divorce. Each Party feels that they should have the children the majority of the time for any number of reasons. Fathers worry that the courts always side with the Mother. Mothers worry that the courts will side with the Father when the Father makes more money. The bottom line is that both Parties start with an even playing field. Ultimately, if the Parties cannot agree, the court has to decide what is in a child's best interest.
Florida used to have a presumption against split of 50/50 timesharing. There are many studies of which the courts are aware that say the split or 50/50 timesharing is not in the best interest of children. Although that statutory presumption has been eliminated, many judges are still aware of these studies and believe that one parent needs to have the child throughout the school week for that child to have the best chance of success.
This does not mean that there will always be a weekend parent. Many judges have interpreted recent changes in the law to mean that we start out with 50/50 timesharing and work from there. Split, or 50/50, timesharing can and has worked in many cases where both Parties have substantial ties to and support in the local community. Rarely will a court reject and agreement that contemplates any timesharing that has been thought out, agreed to, and has parents that will work to make it a success.
There are currently 20 statutory factors a judge must consider pursuant to Florida Statute 61.13 to make a determination of timesharing. Knowing these factors and how to conduct yourself during a Divorce case can be critical.
If you are going through a Divorce and have children, contact Michael D. Fluke, P.A. today.