In Florida, if you are unmarried and have a child but do not have a legal timesharing (child custody) plan in place, it may be beneficial to get one. If you are married and are contemplating divorce then timesharing will be decided during the divorce proceedings.
A legal timesharing plan establishes clear boundaries and imposes real consequences for those that violate it. Additionally, a legal time sharing may protect your children and/or provide them stability in their lives.
In Florida “child custody” is known as “timesharing” and is controlled by § 61.13, Florida Statutes.
Florida law states that “the best interest of the child” is the “primary consideration” when the judge is creating or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parental plan , including a time-sharing schedule. See § 61.13(3)(a)-(t), Florida Statutes.
The “best interest of the child” standard is very fluid, meaning it is not a black and white test. Instead, Florida law requires the judge to take a variety of factors into consideration, including the “welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family”.
Moreover, § 61.13(3)(a)-(t), Florida Statutes contain all of the factors that the judge must consider when deciding on a parenting plan and answering the best interest of the child question. The factors include, but are not limited to:
If you have a permanent timsharing plan in place, but for some reason you want to change or modify it you should consider the following. In Florida, before a judge can modify an existing timesharing plan, you must show “a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination that the modification is in the best interests of the child.” See § 61.13(3), Florida Statutes.
In other words, to successfully have a judge change or modify a timesharing plan you must show a change in circumstances that is 1) substantial; 2) material; and 3) unanticipated. You will also need to show that the modification you want is “in the best interest of the child”, which as explained above, will impact the above factors.
If you are the father of a child, and never married to your child’s mother or are not the legal father of the child, then you need to have a court determine you are the actual father of the child, before you can get timesharing rights. This process may be relatively simple, if the child’s mother is cooperative. If she is uncooperative or opposes you having legal rights that come with being the child’s legal father, then a formal hearing may be required.
At The Law Offices of Scott J. Kalish we have the experience to represent you in your child custody or timesharing case. We represent people throughout South Florida, specifically Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties.
With our main office conveniently located in Coral Springs, and other office locations throughout South Florida we are never far. If you have a question about your family law or child custody matter, or any other matter, reach out to us today for help.