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Tampa Divorce Attorney | Blog | Child Custody | Florida’s New Child Custody Law and the Rebuttable Presumption of 50/50 Time Sharing

Florida’s New Child Custody Law and the Rebuttable Presumption of 50/50 Time Sharing


Florida is ushering in a groundbreaking change in its approach to child custody. Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed into law a bill centered around the presumption that equal time-sharing is in the child’s best interest. This significant legislation, backed by Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-Fort Myers) and Sen. Shevrin D. Jones (D-Miami Gardens), has garnered wide legislative support, with the House passing it 105-7 and the Senate giving its nod with a 34-3 vote.

Understanding these recent changes is important for families undergoing separation or divorce to ensure their children’s well-being. Tampa child custody lawyer, Laura A. Olson, clarifies Florida’s new child custody time-sharing law and its implications for Tampa families.

A Shift Towards Collaborative Parenting

Florida’s modern 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. With this philosophy in mind, Florida has gradually transitioned from the traditional “custody” framework to a more collaborative “time-sharing” model.

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. However, as emphasized by Rep. Persons-Mulicka during an April 11 committee meeting, this does not guarantee that both parents will exit the court with an equal arrangement. It simply ensures they enter the legal proceedings on equal footing, emphasizing fairness.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 and the family’s unique circumstances.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. However, it also provides adequate mechanisms to ensure the final arrangement aligns with the child’s best interests.

Navigating Child Custody with The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A.

Understanding and maneuvering the intricacies of Florida’s new child custody law can be a complex task, especially when emotions run high. At The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A., we are committed to ensuring that Tampa families navigate these legal waters with clarity, confidence, and a focus on the child’s well-being.




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