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The Florida Senate Has Passed A Bill That Would Create a Presumption of Equal Time-sharing For Parents

February 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized



The Florida Senate has passed a bill (Senate Bill 250) that would create a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child(ren) of parents that each parent enjoy equal time-sharing.  Courts would still be able to establish a different time-sharing schedule provided that they can overcome the statutory presumption based on the consideration of 22 factors set forth in the proposed amended statute.  The effective date of the bill would be October 1, 2016.

 Section 1. Subsection (3) of section 61.13, Florida
   18  Statutes, is amended to read:
   19         61.13 Support of children; parenting and time-sharing;
   20  powers of court.—
   21         (3) For purposes of establishing or modifying parental
   22  responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying
   23  a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which
   24  governs each parent’s relationship with his or her minor child
   25  and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or
   26  her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the
   27  primary consideration.
   28         (a) Approximately equal time-sharing with a minor child by
   29  both parents is presumed to be in the best interest of the
   30  child. In determining whether the presumption is overcome, the
   31  court shall evaluate the evidence based on A determination of
   32  parental responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing
   33  schedule may not be modified without a showing of a substantial,
   34  material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a
   35  determination that the modification is in the best interests of
   36  the child. Determination of the best interests of the child
   37  shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the
   38  welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the
   39  circumstances of that family, including, but not limited to:
   40         1.(a) The demonstrated capacity or and disposition of each
   41  parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing
   42  parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule,
   43  and to be reasonable when changes are required.
   44         2.(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities
   45  after the litigation, including the extent to which parental
   46  responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
   47         3.(c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
   48  parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the
   49  child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
   50         4.(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable,
   51  satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining
   52  continuity.
   53         5.(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with
   54  special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and
   55  the amount of time to be spent traveling to carry out effectuate
   56  the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption
   57  for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
   58         6.(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
   59         7.(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
   60         8.(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
   61         9.(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court
   62  deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding,
   63  and experience to express a preference.
   64         10.(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, or and
   65  disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances
   66  of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s
   67  friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and
   68  favorite things.
   69         11.(k) The demonstrated capacity or and disposition of each
   70  parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as
   71  discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and
   72  bedtime.
   73         12.(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to
   74  communicate with the other parent and keep the other parent
   75  informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and
   76  the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all
   77  major issues when dealing with the child.
   78         13.(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence,
   79  child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of
   80  whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has
   81  been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending
   82  actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child
   83  abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must
   84  specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was
   85  considered when evaluating the best interests of the child.
   86         14.(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided
   87  false information to the court regarding any prior or pending
   88  action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child
   89  abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
   90         15.(o) The demonstrated capacity or disposition of each
   91  parent to perform or ensure the performance of particular
   92  parenting tasks customarily performed by the other each parent
   93  and the division of parental responsibilities before the
   94  institution of litigation and during the pending litigation,
   95  including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were
   96  undertaken by third parties.
   97         16.(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
   98  parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and
   99  extracurricular activities.
  100         17.(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each
  101  parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free
  102  from substance abuse.
  103         18.(r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to
  104  protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by
  105  not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing
  106  documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the
  107  child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other
  108  parent to the child.
  109         19.(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and
  110  the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet
  111  the child’s developmental needs.
  112         20. The amount of time-sharing requested by each parent.
  113         21. The frequency that a parent would likely leave the
  114  child in the care of a nonrelative on evenings and weekends when
  115  the other parent would be available and willing to provide care.
  116         22.(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the
  117  determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time
  118  sharing schedule.
  119         (b) A court order must be supported by written findings of
  120  fact if the order establishes an initial permanent time-sharing
  121  schedule that does not provide for approximately equal time
  122  sharing.
  123         (c) A determination of parental responsibility, a parenting
  124  plan, or a time-sharing schedule may not be modified without a
  125  determination that such modification is in the best interest of
  126  the child and upon a showing of a substantial, material, and
  127  unanticipated change in circumstances.
  128         Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2016.

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