Last year, the Florida legislature proposed a bill establishing a 50/50 time-sharing presumption in family law cases in Florida, which was ultimately vetoed by Governor Scott. In essence, under the proposed law, the Judge would start off with 50/50 time-sharing and a parent would have to prove why equal time-sharing was not in the best interests of the child. Many argued that the one size fits all approach did not serve the best interest of Florida’s children.

This year, on June 5, 2017, Senate Bill 590 was presented to the Governor for signature–he now has 15 days in which to veto, sign, or take no action and allow the bill to become law without his signature. The bill, which is facing strong opposition from the Florida Bar Family Law Section, seeks to streamline and bypass the court system in establishing a parenting plan for unmarried parents. More specifically, the bill authorizes the Florida Department of Revenue through its Administrative Law Judges and hearing officers to encourage the parents to enter into agreed time-sharing plans or a “presumptive” or default schedule goes into effect. The presumptive minimum schedule for the parent paying child support is as follows: two weekend nights with the child every other week, along with other limited periods of time, though less than 20% of the child’s time in a typical year. It also establishes a default holiday schedule. The “Standard Parenting Time Plan” would be given to parents by the Department of Revenue. However, the Department of Revenue does not have the ability to enforce the Parenting Time Plan. As such, parents would still need to seek the court’s assistance if either parent is not abiding by the default schedule.

Currently, when a Judge is faced with making a decision regarding parental responsibility and time-sharing, the Judge will consider a long list of factors in determining what is in the best interest of the child. (See Florida statute 61.13). As time-sharing is an extremely complex and factually intensive determination, there is no one size fits all approach and having an advocate on your side is your best bet in protecting your rights and that of your children.


Stay tuned for updates on the proposed bill!