What is timesharing or time sharing with minor children?
Time sharing is about how minor children’s time is divided between parents after the parents’ marriage is dissolved. The concept has gone through a variety of name changes through the years. For many years it was referred to as Custody and Visitation. Then it was referred to as Shared Parental Responsibility. Now it is referred to as “Time Sharing.”
Each time a term change occurred, it was in an attempt to make it clear that nobody owns their children and that nobody is a more important or a more primary parent than the other. Both parents are equal, with equal rights and equal responsibilities for their children, even if the children’s time is not spent equally with each parent.
How does modern time-sharing differ from Child custody and visitation of old?
Typical awards of time sharing today differ greatly from historic decisions. Previously fathers often spent much less time with their children than did mothers. Fathers were the primary income earners and mothers were the primary child care providers. Historically, fathers frequently were awarded timesharing approximating every other weekend plus a chunk of time in the summer plus small chunks of time during the holidays. This frequently resulted in father’s having the children 20% of the time or less.
Over time typical timesharing proportions have significantly changed, as has our society, and as has the American family. Now, we tend to see timesharing awards that are closer to equal, where each parent spends similar amounts of time with the children. Today, assuming that: 1) there are no unfortunate facts such as drug abuse, alcoholism, incarceration, or spousal abuse and 2) both parties are generally good and capable parents and 3) both parents live reasonably close to each other and 4) both parents can communicate reasonably well with each other; then typical timesharing decisions fall somewhere within the 60% to 40% timesharing range. That means that a good, capable and local parent can expect to be awarded somewhere between a high of 60% or a low of 40% of a child’s overnights if a court must make the decision because the parents cannot agree amongst themselves. As such, one must think about whether or not it is wise to litigate timesharing issues unless unfortunate parenting facts are involved.
One of the reasons for more equal time sharing is that even if a parent has been a primary care provider for the children in the past, when the divorce is concluded, frequently both parents find themselves employed. As such both parents end up with more equal amounts of time available to spend parenting the children.
It is a common misconception that all Judges presume that equal time sharing is in the best interests of minor children. A show of hands by local Judges asked this question at a recent lunch seminar did not confirm the equal time presumption. However, recent proposed Florida legislation has aimed at creating this equal timesharing presumption. Whether or not this proposed legislation will pass is unknown.
What are the major reasons or factors considered when determining which parent will be awarded time with children?
Historically, the biggest factor was which parent was historically the primarily caretaker for the children during the marriage. This means, who historically was primarily responsible for the typical parenting tasks such as: diaper changing, food preparation, homework, clothes shopping, laundry, bed time, medical tasks, and the like. However, now that more and more divorced parents both have to be fully employed, the parent who previously performed most of the parenting tasks does not answer the question of who will have the time and capacity to parent the children after the divorce.
As far as what specific factors the court MUST consider and comment upon when determining who spends what amount of time with the children, those factors are listed in Florida Statute § 61, and they are lettered A through T. That is a large number of factors to be considered, and the last one, T, is “any other relevant factor” that can be helpful to a Judge when making a decision.
The single overall guiding judicial principle or criteria for deciding timesharing with minor children has, for many years, been encapsulated within the following single question: “What arrangement will be in the minor child or children’s best interests”. This is not the same as what is most fair to the parents.
Why would a Tampa Child custody attorney be necessary to help set up my time sharing?
An experienced Tampa child custody (timesharing) lawyer can be very helpful. They know what is important (relevant) and what is not. They know how to present facts to a Court. Most disputes are settled without a court deciding the issue and an attorney knows how to complete an appropriate parenting plan (agreement) which will work reasonably well years into the future. As a single example of many, did you know that the decision as to which parent’s residence will be used for any future public school assignments is very important? Think about it. Almost no one does.
How can the Tampa Child Custody attorneys at Anton Legal Group help someone to get more time with their child?
We know how to negotiate what is important to long term successful time sharing.
We know how to prepare quality agreements that give you and your child what is needed both today and long into the future.
If negotiations unfortunately fall apart, we know how to litigate timesharing cases. This includes not only successfully presenting a case to a judge but also hiring experts, preparing witnesses, and garnering evidence.