In the realm of family law, understanding time-sharing schedules is key, especially in Florida where they form a significant part of parenting plans. Time-sharing schedules dictate how parents will divide their time with their children. This blog will explore common time-sharing schedules used in Florida, providing clarity for those navigating this crucial aspect of parenting post-divorce.
The State of Florida mandates a parenting time-sharing plan as part of any divorce that includes children. Parenting plans are necessary in paternity cases filed in the family courthouse. These schedules shift custody from a gender-based concept, not automatically assuming mothers as primary caregivers and fathers as mere visitors.
This time-sharing schedule first and foremost considers the child’s best interest. Before approving a schedule, a court will investigate both parental homes and neighborhoods to determine the type of care each parent can provide.
How Does a Time-Sharing Schedule Work?
Design each schedule to suit the specific needs of every unique family. Parents can agree on any type of workable schedule; however, there are some plans more popular than others in the State of Florida.
50/50 Time-Sharing: Equal Parenting Time
A popular option in Florida is the 50/50 time-sharing schedule. This arrangement splits the child’s time equally between both parents. It’s an ideal choice for families seeking a balanced approach, ensuring children spend an equal amount of time with each parent. However, it requires parents to live relatively close to each other and maintain a cooperative relationship.
60/40 Time-Sharing: A Slightly Skewed Balance
The 60/40 schedule offers a bit more flexibility. It’s perfect for parents who want substantial time with their children but can’t commit to a strict 50/50 split due to work schedules or other commitments. This option allows one parent slightly more time than the other, often rotating on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
70/30 Time-Sharing: Accommodating Busy Schedules
For parents with demanding work schedules or those living farther apart, the 70/30 time-sharing arrangement can be ideal. This schedule often involves children spending weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other. It offers a consistent routine, beneficial for the child’s schooling and extracurricular activities.
Every Other Weekend: Traditional but Limited
A traditional schedule, often seen in past decades, is the every-other-weekend plan. One parent has the child during the week, while the other spends time with the child every other weekend. This schedule can work well when one parent has limited availability or lives a considerable distance away.
Parenting Time-Sharing Schedules and Summer Vacations
A schedule can be forthright for the school year, but what happens during summer vacation, with its travel plans, summer camps, and other outings?
That is where the importance of flexibility comes in. For example, if a parent has a 2 or 3-week vacation planned to visit the grandparents, this should be accommodated.
Consider creating a specific Summer Time-Sharing Schedule if travel or camp is a regular part of the child’s summer.
Summertime will not affect infants and toddlers. For children in preschool or school, however, parents should consider the fact that during the summer, there will be no homework, no traveling back and forth to school, and both parents need to incorporate other parent-child activities into their days. It’s a good time for some additional bonding time and making special memories.
If a summer time-sharing schedule needs to be drawn up, here are the most popular types:
- 2-2-3 – here the child will spend two days with each parent, and a long weekend with one parent, and the long weekend will alternate regularly to give both parents equal time. This schedule works well when the parents live close to each other.
- Alternating week – this is an easy schedule. The children spend one week with one parent and the next week with the other parent. The children should be old enough to spend an entire week without the other parent. For younger children who struggle with a week away from the other parent, arrange a flexible mid-week sleepover. A weeklong schedule can blend with a week at camp or grandma’s house.
- Every two weeks – this is very much like the alternating week plan, but it has even greater flexibility. It allows for longer vacation activities and more activities in general.
- The entire summer – this schedule can work when parents live quite a distance apart and the child has one primary caretaker and sees less of the other parents. With this schedule, the far-away parent gets the child for the entire summer to build a real parent/child bond.
The purpose of a time-sharing schedule is to make the divorce as easy as possible for the child. He or she should feel secure, regardless of which home he or she is in. The schedule should disrupt the child’s life only minimally, and it should protect him or her from parental conflict and disagreement.
The schedules should be specific enough to deal with most circumstances (birthdays, weekends, school activities, holidays, etc.) but should also be flexible enough to include changes when necessary. The plan should detail the logistics of transferring the child between homes, specifying who will handle drop-offs and pickups.
Parents should keep in mind the purpose of a time-sharing schedule is not to create unreasonable rules, but to keep the child’s life as manageable as possible.
Each family situation is different, and the parents should arrange a time-sharing schedule with the child’s best interest in mind. In the event of problems, changes in circumstances, or disagreements, the court can revisit the issue and revise the schedule to suit all parties.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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