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Florida Courts Prefer Equal Timesharing Arrangements


Florida Statute §61.13 discusses timesharing arrangements for divorced parents with minor children. Every parent who is going through a divorce should understand the provisions set forth under this statute. Section 61.13 plays a crucial role in determining time-sharing relationships for minor children. In this article, the Tampa, FL child custody attorneys at Westchase Law, P.A. will discuss Section 61.13 and how it applies to your Florida divorce.

What is Florida Statute §61.13? 

Florida Statute §61.13 establishes the presumption that equal time-sharing of minor children is in the best interests of the children. This means that the default position of the court is that it is beneficial for a child to spend an equal amount of time with both parents. However, it is important to understand that this presumption is rebuttable. In other words, the court will consider arguments against an equal time-sharing agreement when appropriate. If one party believes that a 50/50 time-sharing agreement is not in the best interests of the children, then they can argue against it. To successfully rebut this presumption, the party must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that equal time-sharing is not in the child’s best interests.

Factors that the court will consider 

The court does not take this decision lightly and considers arguments that make harsh allegations against one parent or the other. These include:

  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Evidence of sexual violence
  • Signs of abandonment, abuse, or neglect

What happens when one party challenges the 50/50 time-sharing presumption? 

To overcome the presumption that both parents are entitled to a 50/50 split in time-sharing, one party must establish that a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement is not in the best interests of the children. In other words, they must make certain allegations against the other parent and the court is required to consider these allegations. This does not impact time-sharing schedules that have been agreed to by both parents. The court must evaluate all factors set forth in the new law and make specific written findings of fact if the court wants to order unequal time-sharing. These include:

  • The capacity of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes need to be made
  • The extent to which parental obligations are delegated to third parties
  • The capacity of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to their own needs
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability to maintain that continuity
  • Whether a parent has been convicted of domestic violence
  • Whether there is a history of spousal or child abuse
  • Each parent’s physical and mental health
  • The preference of the children if the child is old enough to have a valid opinion
  • Any other factor considering the best interests of the children

Under the new law, 50/50 time-sharing is the presumptive standard and the court will only deviate from that policy when there is good reason to do so.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Child Custody Attorney Today 

Westchase Law, P.A. represents the interests of parents who are contesting 50/50 time-sharing with their former spouse. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin addressing your concerns right away.



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