When a couple divorces, one of the significant issues they have to figure out is how to handle timesharing. There are two types of timesharing: sole and shared. Sole timesharing means that one parent is the only one who can make decisions about their child’s education, healthcare, and other important aspects of life. Shared timesharing means that parents share decision-making authority for their children. While this principle is straightforward, things work a little differently in the state of Florida. Let’s discuss the difference between sole and shared timesharing in the Sunshine State.
Different Types of Timesharing
Sole and shared timesharing are general terms, but to be specific, they can be further broken down into four categories. These categories are sole physical timesharing, joint physical timesharing, sole legal timesharing, and joint legal timesharing, according to DivorceMag.com. These four designations indicate the different forms of arrangement couples can enter into during divorce. Physical timesharing addresses the matter of time spent with a child and general responsibility for a child during these times. Legal timesharing is more about who gets to make important legal decisions concerning that child. With a few options, it is important to fully understand what each entails. With the correct understanding, advocating for and reaching a suitable agreement is within reach.
Sole vs. Shared Timesharing
Joint physical timesharing is usually awarded in situations where traveling back and forth between the parents’ homes would not interfere with the child’s well-being. These travel plans work in accordance with a parental schedule, which is normally compiled by the divorced couple. After they have agreed on times, the court ratifies the schedule. If this travel or logistics interfere with the child’s well-being, one of the parents is given sole physical timesharing. In these situations, the other parent will also receive visitation rights with varying degrees of limitation based on the specific case.
Florida usually grants joint legal timesharing to parents after a divorce. This joint timesharing is subject to revision if one of the parents violates the legal timesharing in some way. The child’s well-being is pivotal in these considerations, and for this reason, it is important for parents with joint legal timesharing to align their decisions concerning their child. If they struggle to reach a consensus, it is possible for one of the parents to file for sole legal timesharing. Certain circumstances, such as a substance abuse disorder or instances of child abuse, and even financial instability, can be indicators of a parent who is not fit to have legal timesharing of their child. In cases where one parent can be proved to be unfit to have legal timesharing of their child, the court rules for the wellbeing of the child. In most cases, the ruling results in one parent receiving sole legal timesharing.
However, understanding alone isn’t the only key to an amicable timesharing decision process. Divorce hearings get messy as can be expected when emotions, lives, and marriages are involved. Couples require people with the necessary expertise and objective views outside of the situation to represent their best interests and the best interests of their children. For this reason, divorce lawyers often assist in the process of timesharing talks. In Florida, this can happen within or outside of a courtroom hearing. Ultimately, though, the final arguments must be made before the mediator who will determine which parent receives timesharing.
How Is the Type of Timesharing Decided?
In the past, there was precedence towards women receiving timesharing. This precedence came to be known as the tender years doctrine. This doctrine determines the suitability of a parent based on their gender. Although, in present-day circumstances, Florida courts do not take gender into account as an overwhelming factor in the process of timesharing decisions. Instead, they seek to determine what situation would be to the child’s greatest benefit. This principle is known as the “best interest of the child” doctrine. As they decide on this, many questions are taken into account. These questions address a variety of issues, including safety, parental supervision, any history of abuse, any history of a substance abuse disorder, and many more relevant perspectives.
Within these conversations, the ideal is that the couple comes to an agreement without involvement from the court. When the topic of child support arises, it becomes necessary for the couple to establish suitable terms. In Florida, whether one parent has sole timesharing or if the couple shares joint timesharing, they are expected to pay child support. Both people are expected by the court to support their child. If reaching an amicable child support agreement proves impossible, then the court intervenes to ensure justice for everyone involved. Using guidelines and estimations based on the individual earnings of each parent as well as the specific needs of the child, be they medical or otherwise, the court establishes the amount of child support to be paid.
It is within the interest of the couple to resolve any conflicts surrounding timesharing before resorting to a court decision. Especially to avoid a drawn-out and draining timesharing battle, the couple has a greater opportunity for collaboration in timesharing when they sit down and discuss the matter with an experienced attorney. If all else fails, these individuals can assist a parent in developing a case for timesharing that will stand up to the court’s scrutiny. Without being sidelined by negative outcomes, it is important to stay focused on the well-being of the children involved in a hearing. This approach allows the process to move forward past the emotional hangups of divorce.
How Timesharing Can Affect All Parties Involved
timesharing battles incur many costs, not only financially. When these hearings are drawn out due to the inability of a couple to reach an agreement, it will definitely hurt in the pocket. But beyond this toll, the emotional expense of dredging up histories, mistakes, and shortcomings is immense. It is painful to have to rehearse the worst parts of a marriage and the saddest experiences of raising children. Allowing this process to drag on and on makes the objective move away from achieving an ideal outcome for the well-being of the child.
When timesharing talks go well, they allow the child in question to transition through their parents’ divorce without as much heartache. Establishing a new, fair way of doing things means that the child gets to resume their day-to-day life with minimal interruption. The courts seek to expedite this process. Seeing a well-adjusted child in a situation where their well-being is the highest priority is a convincing argument in these hearings. In some cases, the final situation even centralizes the child’s dwelling place, asking specific parents to be present and responsible within that space during their designated times.
In Florida, the greatest priority is the well-being of the child. Every parent going into this process would be well-advised to focus on this as well. Building convincing cases with a trusted representative is for the express purpose of ensuring the child is happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. Whether the hearings end up in joint timesharing or sole timesharing, or a variety of combinations, the state seeks to enhance a child’s smooth transition, even as the parents in question part ways. Understanding the principles at play and allowing counsel to guide every step ensures that the final outcome will be in the child’s best interest. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the process of divorce and to match with a divorce lawyer to help you through your case.