In effort to promote co-parenting, the State of Florida revised the term “custody”, replacing it with the terms “Time-sharing” and “Parental Responsibility”.
The goal of this change in terminology is to encourage a healthier relationship between the child and their parents after the divorce or when the parties are not married, as well as promoting shared parental responsibility between the parents. Custody decisions are made according to the “best interests of the child.” The “best interests of the child” are often determined by looking at 20 well-defined factors set forth in Florida Statute §61.13(3).
The change in the Florida law now requires a Parenting Plan which outlines the following:
- Respective Parental Responsibility, which includes:
- A Timesharing Schedule-specifying the time the child will spend with each parent and responsibility for daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child
- Parental Decision-Making-specifying who will be responsible for health care decisions, school-related matters, and other activities
- The child’s main place of residence
- Child Support Payments, if any
- The Communication methods the parents will use with each other and their child
- Handling parental relocation- must specify what each parent expects if the need for relocation arises, including notice to the other parent, the terms of the new time-sharing arrangements, how and which parties are in charge of giving transportation, etc.
- Safety/Supervised Visitation special provisions in the event that one of the parents is not able to take care of the children without oversight, supervision or additional rules which governs the parties parental rights.
- Special provisions/High Conflict Cases special provisions necessary to aid the parties and children in cases in which there is high conflict between the parents.
See also High Conflict Parental Rights Cases for more information.
Modifying of Parental Rights or Parenting Plan
The court may modify an order or Final Judgment as to the parties parental rights or parenting plan when:
- A substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the original order or Final Judgment such as (not an exhaustive list):
- One of the parents is not exercising his or her time sharing;
- Physical, Emotional or Mental health of the child is being negatively affected;
- The fitness of a parent;
- Best interest of the child;
See also High Conflict Parental Rights Cases