Visitation and Timesharing Laws in Florida and Parenting Plan
Florida no longer uses the term(s) custody, primary care, primary residential care, or other such designations of custody. Instead, the law refers to timesharing, shared parenting and requires a parenting plan. The timesharing laws in Florida requires a parenting plan must be approved by the court. At a minimum, the parenting plan must describe in detail how the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with upbringing the children; the timesharing schedule arrangements that specify the time the children will spend with each parent; a designation of which parent will be responsible for any and all forms of health care, school related matters, including the address to be used for school boundary determination and registration and other activities and methods and technologies the parents will use to communicate with the children.
It is the public policy of the State of Florida for each child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage the parents to share the rights and responsibilities and joys of childbearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the children or for or against any specific timesharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the children.
For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating or modifying a parenting plan, including a timesharing schedule, the court’s primary consideration must be the best interest of the children. In determining the best interest of the children, the court must consider all of the factors as provided in the statute that affect the welfare and best interest of the children and the circumstances of the family. The first and most important factor is the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent child relationship, to honor the timesharing schedule and to be reasonable when changes are required.
The parenting plan may be agreed to by the parties or determined by the court. The court may appoint an expert such as a psychologist to develop a parenting plan recommendation which the court may consider in establishing a parenting plan.
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The Dorsey Law Firm has practiced Family Law in Jacksonville for over 35 years. Our firm has represented clients in front of nearly every judge in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau Counties, and has tried cases throughout the entire State of Florida.