Transforming Family Dynamics: Guidance on Florida’s New Parenting and Timesharing Law in 2023

Transforming Family Dynamics: Florida's New Parenting and Timesharing Law in 2023 Explained

On July 1, 2023, Florida implemented a significant overhaul of its parenting and timesharing laws, reshaping the way child custody and visitation arrangements are determined in divorce and separation cases. This article aims to provide an insightful exploration of the key aspects of Florida’s new parenting and timesharing law, as well as discuss the ways this new law will impact parents, children, and family law professionals. These changes affect all timesharing cases (including divorce) that are filed with the Court after July 1, 2023.

Key Changes in the Timesharing Law

  • Best Interests of the Child: The new law reiterates the state’s commitment to safeguarding the best interests of the child. It emphasizes that all parenting and timesharing decisions must prioritize the child’s welfare above all else. 
  • Shared Parenting as the Default: Florida shifted towards a presumption of shared parental responsibility and equal timesharing as the default arrangement. The law recognizes the importance of both parents being actively involved in their child’s life, promoting a more balanced distribution of parenting responsibilities. 
  • Rebuttable presumption: There is a rebuttable presumption that equal time-sharing of a minor child is in the best interests of the minor child. To rebut this presumption, a party must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that equal time-sharing is not in the best interests of the minor child. 
  • Timesharing Plans: The new law requires parents to create comprehensive timesharing plans that outline the specifics of how they will share parenting responsibilities, including the child’s daily routine, holidays, and special occasions. These plans must be submitted to the court for approval. Download a copy of the Parenting Plan from the Florida Supreme Court here.

The new parenting and timesharing law is poised to have a profound impact on Florida families:

  • Child-Centric Approach: The new law continues to underscore the importance of prioritizing the well-being of the child above all else, ensuring that parenting decisions align with the child’s best interests. 
  • Shared Parenting: The default presumption of shared parenting emphasizes the significance of both parents actively participating in their child’s life, fostering a more equitable and collaborative co-parenting dynamic. 
  • Structured Parenting Plans: The continued requirement for detailed parenting plans encourages parents to collaborate on scheduling and parenting responsibilities, reducing potential conflicts and uncertainties. 
  • Mediation and Resolution: By continuing to promote alternative dispute resolution methods, the law aims to minimize adversarial court battles, easing the emotional strain on parents and children.

The entire Florida Statute, Florida Statute §61.13, regarding timesharing can be found HERE.

Florida’s new parenting and timesharing law, effective as of July 1, 2023, reflects a commitment to creating more child-centered and equitable solutions in cases of divorce or paternity matters. By prioritizing shared parenting, structured timesharing plans, and alternative dispute resolution, the law seeks to minimize the emotional toll on families while ensuring the best interests of the child remain paramount.

Consulting with a family law attorney is helpful to assist you in understanding the change and complexities of the new parenting and timesharing law effectively. In some cases, your situation may not be affected. In other cases, a modification of your current parenting plan may make all the difference to the time you spend with your child(ren). In addition, any changes to your parenting plan and timesharing schedule may also change your child support. To schedule a consultation with our office, contact us at 727-359-0367 or schedule a consultation through our website HERE.

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