Despite the widespread use of the term custody, Florida actually uses “time-sharing” to describe how parents divide time with their children after divorce. The state encourages parents to come to an agreement about time-sharing either independently or with the help of a mediator.
Review these important aspects of parenting time in Florida to guide your approach after divorce when you have minor children.
Shared parental responsibility
Parents generally have shared parental responsibility, which describes the right to guide a child’s legal, religious, educational or medical decisions since he or she is too young to do so. One parent can request sole parental responsibility if the other parent’s decisions could harm the child’s health or safety. When one parent has more parenting time than the other, Florida designates him or her as the primary parent for decision-making purposes.
Joint vs. majority time-sharing
In many cases, parents in Florida share time with their children relatively evenly after divorce. Joint time-sharing does not necessarily have to consist of exactly 50/50 custody. However, the court may award majority time-sharing (sole custody) to just one parent if the other parent has a history of neglect, child abandonment or domestic abuse.
When you and your spouse cannot agree on a time-sharing agreement, you can ask the court to decide. In Florida, the judge will consider factors that influence the child’s best interests, such as his or her level of development, preference depending on age and current adjustment to the home and school settings. Other factors include the distance between parents’ homes, their ability to care for the child and provide structure, and the moral fitness, mental health and physical health of each parent.