The words “child custody” have been removed from the Florida Divorce and Paternity statutes. During a divorce or paternity proceeding, a Parenting Plan is created, which includes Parental Responsibility, which is either Sole, Shared, or Shared with Ultimate Decision making authority. The majority of parents are awarded Shared Parental Responsibility. This is the ability to be equally involved in major decision-making affecting the child(ren).
The Parenting Plan also includes a Holiday and Time-Sharing schedule to be determined based on the child(ren)'s best interest. Many assume that Florida is an “Equal Time Sharing” state. Although many courts are leaning toward 50/50 time-sharing, the Judge is required to consider many factors when determining the child(ren)'s best interest when creating a time-sharing schedule.
Based on the current Florida laws, 50/50 time-sharing is not automatic, nor is it a parent's right. I will discuss with the client the different factors the court will consider and how they may relate to the individual case so that the client is educated when negotiating a Parenting Plan, and deciding whether it is appropriate to leave the decision to the Court. All parties in cases involving children will be required to attend a 4-hour court-approved Parenting Course. Many judges require that these courses are attended in person, instead of online.