Custody, time sharing, and parenting plans in Florida.


What are the custody laws in Florida? What is custody? What is time sharing? What is a parenting plan? Watch as Attorney Tom Olsen and Attorney Paul Newnum answer these questions and more. 


Attorney Tom Olsen: Paul, by the way, we throw around this term “custody” all the time.

Attorney Paul Newnum: Yes, we do.

Attorney Tom Olsen: And custody here in the state of Florida, there actually is no such thing as custody.

Attorney Paul Newnum: There is one word in the statute – in one part of chapter 61 that has custody in it; but, it describes everything but custody. For all intensive purposes, custody, full custody; those terms just don’t exist. All we talk about is parenting plan, time sharing with the children, how are their schedules, what are the schedules going to be during the summer break, the winter break and all those things.

Attorney Tom Olsen: And so traditionally, historically, the mom might've gotten more time with the children. These days, it is assumed that there’s going be some kind of 50-50 split with the kids.

Attorney Paul Newnum: It’s not assumed. The statue provides that there is no presumption for either the mother or the father. There is no presumption for any set schedule. Now, some judges will tell you, because I’ve heard them say it in the public forum, that they operate on the presumption that there’s going to be 50-50. And then they work backwards from that to see if there’s any reason why they shouldn’t do 50-50 instead of some other schedule. And that can be dependent upon the age of the children, how busy the children are outside and inside of the school, work schedule of the parties. If dad works from 2am to 10am, it’s going to be different than if it’s a 9 to 5 job.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay. And I know within the last few years it’s changed in such that, if you have a certain number of days per year where you have the children it can actually lessen the  amount of child support that you pay.

Attorney Paul Newnum:  Absolutely, absolutely. Part of the child support guidelines call for as part of the guideline calculation, the number of overnights the child or the children stay with each parent. So if you have a 50-50 schedule, the child staying with one parent for 183 overnights, the other parent for 182, that’s going to affect it greatly as opposed to one where a parent doesn’t see his kids all the time.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, that’s very fascinating.