Majority vs. Equal Time Sharing in Your Child Custody Matter
March 10, 2016
For many parents, the issue of time sharing is one of the most stressful parts of a child custody case. Florida law does not refer to primary or secondary custody, but rather, both parents share time with the children. As part of a child custody order in a divorce or custody case, the court will order a time-sharing schedule.
Majority time sharing
As the name implies, one parent has custody of the child or children the majority of the time. Majority time sharing is appropriate in cases in which one parent has difficulties that impede his or her ability to parent appropriately, in cases where geographic distance and school obligations limit the ability to share time equally, or cases in which one parent is abusive.
Equal time sharing
In equal time sharing, both parents spend an equal amount of time with the child or children. This could entail the child/children switching between parents every week or a more complex arrangement. This is often appropriate in cases in which both parents are able to cooperate in the best interests of the child or children. It may also be appropriate when the parents live near one another, and the child is easily able to transition from household to household.
How the court decides time-sharing schedules
The court will consider the best interests of the child/children when determining the time-sharing schedule. Major factors will likely include each parent’s mental health, physical health, and moral fitness; each parent’s ability to adhere to a homework, mealtime, and bedtime routine; each parent’s ability to provide a substance abuse-free home; each parent’s willingness to communicate with the other parent about issues that concern the child; the child’s preference; the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community; and geographic factors that may impact the time-sharing schedule. There is no default time-sharing arrangement. The court is required to consider each case individually.
In most cases, the court tries to facilitate the relationship between each parent and child as well as any other important family members. To protect your rights as a parent, consult an experienced child custody attorney to help you with your case.