Co-Parenting and Parenting Plans in Florida

Time-Sharing replaced the terms Child “Custody” and “Visitation” in 2008

Florida courts no longer award “child custody and visitation” to parents as a result of major changes in the law that occurred on October 1, 2008. Instead, Courts now require the creation of a “parenting plan” which the parents agree to (or which is imposed by the court) that governs parenting time with children after the divorce or paternity dispute. We can help assist with questions about parenting plans in Florida.

In the past, it was common in divorce or paternity action for one parent to be awarded primary physical custody of the children. The other parent was typically awarded visitation time.
Reflecting a nationwide trend toward co-parenting, Florida family courts now presume that both parents will share parental responsibilities. As reflected above, the terms “custody” and “visitation” have been replaced by the term “time-sharing” to reflect the changing trends in the law.

Parenting Plans

As a result, there are no more custodial parents and visiting parents in the state of Florida. Parents are either majority or minority time-sharing parents, or even in some cases, equal time-sharing parents. The time each parent will spend with the child and the duties each parent will assume are detailed in the parenting plan mentioned above.

The parenting plan can be brought to the court in the following ways:

• With the agreement of the parties;
• By or on behalf of one of the parents;
• or Established by the court.

There can also be Final Parenting Plans, Temporary Parenting Plans, and Modification of Parenting Plans established by the court. Despite much of the confusion created by the 2008 change in Florida Law, the Parenting Plan is essentially a child custody determination. The Parenting Plan will include a Time-Sharing Schedule, and will designate with whom the child or children will spend the majority of time. But what does “time” mean in this context?

In terms of awarding parents’ their respective “time” with their children, Courts in Florida base the time-sharing on the number of overnights the child or children spend with each parent during a 365 night calendar year. Any parent with who the child or children spend more than half the overnights per year is considered the de facto majority time-share parent. There are cases however where the number of overnights awarded to each parent do not exactly equal half of the available nights during the year, but whom are nonetheless considered to be equal time-share parents.

Familiarity with Current Family Law

The changes in Florida’s old custody and visitation laws, have directly impacted, and will continue to impact many Florida families. At Makofka & Makofka, we are familiar with Florida’s changed parenting plan laws, and can help families who are making important decisions regarding the custody of their children.

A parenting plan is an entirely new way of dealing with child custody issues and it is very important that you speak with an experienced family law attorney before attempting to tackle them alone. The family law attorneys at Makofka & Makofka in Jacksonville, FL have been handling cases regarding the change in Florida’s custody laws and are familiar with the proper documentation which is now required for submitting a parenting plan to the courts.

If you have questions about a Florida parenting plan, or determining a time sharing arrangement, contact us for a free consultation. Call us at (904)355-2700.