Archive of March 2013

March 20, 2013

50/50 Presumption? New Legislative Bill Could Greatly Impact Future Timesharing Orders

The Senate is circulating Bill No. SB 718 which proposes to modify Florida Statute 61.13(2)(c) to include a presumption for equal timesharing. Read the proposed language as follows: “Equal time-sharing with a minor child by both parents is presumed to be in the best interests of the child unless the court finds that: (a) the safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health of the child would be endangered by equal timesharing, that visitation would be presumed detrimental consistent with s. 39.0139(3), or that supervised visitation is appropriate, if any is appropriate; (😎 clear and convincing evidence of extenuating circumstances justify a departure from equal timesharing and the court makes written findings justifying the departure from equal timesharing; (c) a parent is incarcerated; (d) the distance between parental residences makes equal time-sharing impractical; (e) a parent does not request at least 50 percent time-sharing; (f) a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher involving domestic violence; or (g) a parent is subject to an injunction for protection against domestic violence.” Note, this would apply only to prospective timesharing cases and would not constitute a substantial change in circumstances such to warrant a modification action. The 2008 statutory change regarding timesharing caused for there to be a belief that the legislature was leaning in this direction, but it was clarified only months after the application of the new statute that there was no intent to have a presumption of equal timesharing based on that statutory change. Now there is a push to have a clearly-defined presumption in the law regarding equal timesharing, causing for polarized responses from the legal community.

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