On July 1, 2023, a significant change occurred in Florida's family law landscape, as a new bill regarding time sharing and modification of parenting plans comes into effect. Today’s blog aims to analyze the key provisions of the new law.
Equal time sharing
The most prominent change in the new law is the introduction of a presumption for equal time sharing between parents. The new law establishes a presumption for equal time sharing between parents. This means that unless evidence suggests otherwise, the court will assume that a 50/50 time sharing arrangement is in the best interest of the child. This presumption seeks to encourage both parents' involvement in their child's life and promote fair custody arrangements.
It is crucial to note that this presumption can be rebutted by presenting evidence that demonstrates a different arrangement would be in the best interest of the child. The new law recognizes that there may be circumstances where it is not in the best interest of the child to have equal time-sharing among the parents. To ensure that the child's best interests are prioritized, the presumption can be rebutted by a preponderance of evidence. This requirement emphasizes the importance of presenting compelling arguments and substantial proof to support an alternative time-sharing arrangement. The new law enumerates a series of factors that the court needs to take into consideration when one of the parents is asking to deviate from the 50/50 presumption.
Considering the best interest of the child as the primary factor in deciding custody arrangements reinforces the courts' responsibility to assess each case individually. This provision prevents a one-size-fits-all approach and allows for flexibility to accommodate unique family dynamics and circumstances.
Modification of Parenting Plans
Another significant aspect of the new law pertains to the modification of parenting plans. Previously, Florida required that in order to modify an established parenting plan there must have been a substantial, material and unanticipated change in circumstances. However, the new law eliminates the unanticipated requirement, providing a more accessible avenue for parents to seek modifications when necessary.
The removal of the unanticipated change in circumstances requirement acknowledges that life is dynamic, and unforeseen events may necessitate adjustments to existing parenting plans. This change offers parents the ability to modify plans based on evolving circumstances, ensuring the child's best interests are consistently prioritized.
The new law does not make any presumption in favor or against a request to relocate but establishes that a relocation of a parent to be closer to their child, is in need a circumstance that will allow to modify the parenting plan.
When comparing the new law to the existing legislation, it becomes evident that Florida is taking progressive steps towards a more balanced and child-centered family law system. The previous law did not include a presumption for equal time sharing and required an unanticipated change in circumstances for modifications. These barriers often resulted in lengthy legal battles and limited the opportunities for meaningful co-parenting.
If you need help with your family law case, call us today. We offer the first consultation for free, and we can help you tailor your case to your needs and guide you through the legal labyrinth to obtain your desired outcome. At Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. your problem is our problem.
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