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Miami Child Custody Lawyers 

Do you have questions regarding your legal or physical custody rights as a parent? Are you having trouble establishing timesharing responsibilities? If so, Hoffman & Hoffman, P.A. can assist you. Our Miami child custody lawyers can protect both your rights as a parent as well as help you reach a timesharing agreement that is in the best interest of your child(ren). 

Abolishment of the Terms “Visitation” and “Custody”

Prior to the enactment of the Shared Parental Responsibility Act, Courts typically awarded “custody” to one parent in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, and the “custodial parent” was entitled to both physical possession of the child(ren) and the right to make all decisions regarding the child(ren)’s education, religion, health care, and any other aspects of the child’s daily care. Courts would also award “visitation” to the “noncustodial parent” provided that the visitation schedule was in the best interests of the child(ren).

In 2008, the terms “visitation,” “noncustodial parent,” and “custodial parent” were removed from the Florida Statutes and replaced with more neutral terms such as “timesharing” and “parental responsibility.” This change in terminology was intended to deemphasize distinctions between parents in an effort to minimize conflicts between parents. The law now provides that parents shall enjoy “timesharing” with their minor child(ren) and that the Court shall award shared or sole “parental responsibility” for the care, custody, and control of the minor child(ren).

Parental Responsibility

“Shared parental responsibility” is a court-ordered relationship in which both parents retain all of their parental rights. When shared parental responsibility is awarded by the Court, parents must jointly decide on all issues affecting the welfare of their child(ren), such as decisions regarding education, health care, and religion. On the other hand, “sole parental responsibility” provides one parent with the right to unilaterally decide on all child-related issues.

Under the current version of the law, the Court is statutorily mandated to award shared parental responsibility unless the Court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child(ren). In order to determine whether shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child(ren), that Court must analyze twenty statutory factors, which are commonly referred to as the “best interests of the child” factors. Sole parental responsibility will therefore only be awarded if the Court finds that there is “substantial competent evidence” that shared parental responsibility is not in the best interests of the minor child(ren) pursuant to the 20 statutory factors.

Timesharing

The current legislation, which governs disputes between parents of children born both in and out of wedlock, requires the parties to enter into a written parenting plan that sets forth each parent’s rights and responsibilities with regard to their children. The parties’ parenting plan must include a “timesharing schedule” that provides which parent the children will stay with “overnight” for 365 nights out of the year.

If parents are unable to agree on a timesharing schedule, the Court will generally award the parties with equal timesharing due to the public policy that it is in the best interests of the child(ren) to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. A parent’s timesharing can, however, be restricted or denied entirely if the Court finds that it is not in the best interests of the minor child(ren) to spend equal time with both parents based on twenty statutory factors, which are commonly referred to as the “best interests of the child(ren) factors“. See Fla. Stat. 61.13(2)(c).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding timesharing responsibilities, contact the Miami child custody lawyers at Hoffman & Hoffman, P.A. today to schedule a consultation. 

Click on the links below to learn more about Parental Responsibility and Timesharing: