In Orlando family law news, the current proposed HB 1395 from the Florida legislature would reform child custody or timesharing law. The bill has passed both houses of the Florida legislature and now goes to the governor for his decision. As we reported previously, this same bill would also substantially modify Florida law on alimony. As far as custody cases, the proposed law would modify the analysis a court uses to determine contested child custody or timesharing cases. Under current law, the court examines twenty-one separate factors to determine the plan that is in the best interest of the children. There is no requirement that the parents have equal timesharing or a 50/50 timesharing plan. (When both parents have equal timesharing with their kids it’s called a 50/50 timesharing plan.) Such a custody or timesharing plan is one option available.
Changes to Existing Custody or Timesharing Cases
HB 1395 would amend current law to “create a presumption that equal time-sharing is in the child’s best interests,” unless the parents agree to another timesharing plan. In other words, in child custody disputes, the court starts with the presumption that a 50/50 timesharing plan is in the children’s best interest, and the party opposing the 50/50 plan must demonstrate why the court should not use a 50/50 timesharing plan.
Critics of the bill argue that there should not be any automatic presumption as the court should have discretion to select the plan that is in the children’s best interests. Supporters offer that the bill provides for consistency and puts both parents on equal footing going into the case.
Consult with an Experienced Orlando Child Custody Lawyer
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