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How does time-sharing work with child custody

Under Florida law, parents who are divorced or separated are encouraged to share child rearing rights and responsibilities of their minor children. Thus, after either a separation or divorce of the parents, the court typically approves a parenting plan that details how each parent of a minor child will share tasks and responsibilities, and how they will be a part of the daily routine of their child or children.

A parenting plan specifically will note the times that a minor child will spend with each parent. In addition, the plan will lay out which parent will be responsible for the child's healthcare, matters related to school, any other activities the child may be involved in, and how the parents of the child will communicate with each other and the child.

The court takes into consideration the best interest of the child when determining the most effective parenting plan and time-sharing arrangement. Time-sharing is in essence child custody in Florida.

When determining a time-sharing or child custody arrangement, courts look to a number of factors. One factor is the parents' ability to encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent, their ability to work together and to respect and honor the terms of the parenting plan. Furthermore, courts consider stability in the child's life such as how long the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment and the parents' physical and psychological health. Moreover, courts evaluate the involvement of the parents in the child's life as it related to their schooling and extracurricular activities. The child's preferences regarding a custody plan may also play a part in the court's determination.

Unless such a time-sharing arrangement will cause harm to the minor child due to evidence of domestic violence or abuse, the State of Florida encourages parents of minor children to not only have frequent but also on-going continual contact and relationship with their children. An existing time-sharing arrangement may be modified, but the party requesting a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances.

Source: 2014 Florida Statutes, "Chapter 61 - Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-sharing," Accessed July 20, 2015

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