Crucial Updates to Florida’s Timesharing Laws You Need To Know About
Florida’s timesharing laws have experienced various changes over the past few years. This year Florida’s timesharing laws underwent more changes after Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law CS/HB 1301 in June. It is crucial for parents in Florida to understand the changes that were made to the state’s timesharing laws. These changes impact parents seeking parental responsibility and timesharing arrangements and children. This article briefly shares the crucial updates to Florida’s timesharing laws.
The first crucial update to Florida’s timesharing laws is the rebuttable presumption that equal (50/50) timesharing is in a child’s or children’s best interest. Florida courts must now operate under the rebuttable presumption in favor of equal timesharing. Something that the court did not have to do before. Under the new law, the court must award equal timesharing unless a parent can demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that equal timesharing is not in a child or children’s best interest. Proving a case by a preponderance of the evidence entails showing that it is more likely that not that what you claim is true. It is considered the 51% evidentiary rule.
While the court must operate under the presumption that equal timesharing is in the child’s best interest, it is crucial to note that judges still have the final say when it comes to determining what is in the child’s best interest. Judges will assess the specific circumstances surrounding each case when making timesharing decisions. Presumptions can be overcome and a preponderance of the evidence is the lowest evidentiary standard in the law. Therefore, if you and your counsel feel you have the ability to overcome the presumption, do not hesitate to pursue your desires and offer your evidence via the guidance of your counsel.
When determining a timesharing schedule and parenting plan, the new law requires courts to consider the factors under the statute, but the court must now provide written findings of the factors.
Modifying Parenting Plans and Timesharing Schedules
The other changes that the signing of CS/HB 1301 brought about relate to modifying timesharing schedules and parenting plans. First, the new law removed the condition that a parent seeking the modification of a parenting plan or timesharing schedule must prove that a substantial change in circumstances was unanticipated. Under the new law, it is now enough if a parent proves that the change is substantial and material.
Second, it may now be possible for a relocation to be considered a substantial change in circumstances for purposes of modifying a timesharing schedule. Before the new law was signed, simply relocating alone was not considered a substantial change in circumstances warranting a timesharing schedule modification. Now under the new law, if you and your child’s other parent live over 50 miles apart from one another when the last timesharing order is entered, and one of you subsequently moves closer to your child or children, that move may be considered a substantial change in circumstances for purposes of modifying timesharing. Again, this is not a guarantee but a modification may be granted in certain circumstances involving a relocation where a parent moves closer to a child. Nevertheless, if, after considering all relevant factors, the court finds that the modification is not in a child’s or children’s best interest, the court will deny the modification.
Contact Our Jacksonville Family Lawyer
Contact our skilled Jacksonville family lawyers at The Lasky Law Firm for more information on the new Florida timesharing laws or help with a timesharing case.