How Do I Modify Timesharing Under Recent Changes To Florida Law?
Florida uses the term timesharing to refer to the familiar concept of visitation between co-parents, but the basics remain the same. Children will typically split time, based on an arrangement that allows the parents to spend around half their time with the child. Parental responsibility is separate, covering how co-parents make the decisions involved with raising the child. Because change is inevitable in the lives of all parties, parents are allowed to request modifications to timesharing arrangements. With the recent enactment of House Bill 1301 (HB 1301), some aspects of the process have been updated.
These updates could have a significant impact on your case if you want to modify timesharing, as well as if you are fighting a modification by a co-parent. It is important to understand how the new statute works, but it is equally critical to retain an Orlando modifications attorney who stays up-to-date on the laws. An overview is helpful for the basics.
Standard for Modifications: Under the previous version of the statute, a parent seeking a modification to timesharing had to prove a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances. HB 1301 eliminates the requirement that the change be unanticipated. In other words, you do not have to be caught by surprise to request modification, and you might foresee the need well before taking action.
Rebuttable Presumption: The prior law stated that the top consideration for modifying timesharing was whether the change was in the child’s best interests. There is a list of statutory factors that make up the child’s best interests standard. With the recent changes to the statute, there is now a legal presumption in favor of equal timesharing. It is a rebuttable presumption, meaning that the opposing parent has the chance to disprove it.
Overcoming the Presumption: If you want to prevent any changes to the timesharing arrangement, you will be in the position of contesting the rebuttable presumption. Your co-parent is relying on this presumption, so you rebut with proof that a modification is NOT in the child’s best interests. Your standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., that your evidence is more likely than not to be true.
Relocations: Another update to timesharing modifications comes into play with parental relocations. It applies when:
- Parents were living more than 50 miles apart when the current order was entered; and,
- One subsequently moves to within 50 miles of the other.
When these two criteria are met, the relocation constitutes a material, substantial change in circumstances. The requirement that the move be unanticipated is also removed.
Reach Out to a Central Florida Modifications Lawyer Today
Family law concepts in Florida change regularly, so it is important that you work with a law firm that stays current with all developments. The recent bill changes modifications significantly, and our team at Greater Orlando Family Law is prepared for the new requirements. To learn how we can assist with visitation and timesharing modifications, please call 407-377-6399 or go online to set up a consultation.