A Shift Towards Collaborative Parenting

Florida’s new stance on child custody is rooted in the belief that children benefit the most when both parents play active roles in their lives, regardless of the marital status of the parents. 

Highlights of the New Legislation (HB 1301)

  1. Rebuttable Presumption for Equal Time-Sharing: The heart of HB 1301 is its stance that a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement is presumed to be in the best interests of the child. If you both walk in and say nothing you would get 50/50 that is the presumption.
  2. Provisions for Relocation: The new law empowers courts to consider modifications to the time-sharing schedule if a parent relocates within 50 miles of the child, marking a significant shift from the previous stipulations.
  3. Overcoming the Presumption: To counteract the default stance on equal time-sharing, a party must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that such an arrangement isn’t in the child’s best interests.
  4. Focus on the Child’s Best Interests: Courts will prioritize the child’s welfare in determining the appropriate time-sharing structure. They will evaluate various factors affecting the child’s well-being under 61.13.
  5. Parental Relocation Stipulations: HB 1301 provides clarity on parental relocation. The act now specifies that if a parent relocates closer to the child under certain circumstances, it is deemed a substantial and material change—this aids in potentially modifying the existing time-sharing schedule and parenting plan.
  6. Removal of Unanticipated Changes Requirement: The legislation has removed the prerequisite that any modification to the parenting plan be based on unforeseen substantial and material changes in circumstances.

Implications for Florida Families:

This progressive legislation brings more clarity and structure to child custody proceedings in Florida. The state acknowledges both parents’ pivotal role in a child’s life by emphasizing equal time-sharing. The biggest effect we have seen is that even if you plead for majority time sharing it is no longer a given it is now an uphill battle, and the pleading party’s burden.