New automatic time-sharing schedule for parents in 2018

A major goal for Florida lawmakers with Senate Bill 590 was to "encourage frequent contact between a child and each parent" and to "optimize the development of a close and continuing relationship" with the children after divorce or separation. Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 590 into law and it became effective this year.

The new law established an automatic time-sharing schedule, a.k.a. "visitation," which is part of the broader parenting plan. Essentially, the law makes an end-run around the need to bring visitation matters on a case-by-case basis in front of family law judges.

More importantly (as it affects the lives of our family law clients), the law establishes a presumption that parents - both mothers and fathers - are on an equal playing field when it comes to spending time with their children after divorce or separation.

Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan

Per the Florida Dept. of Revenue, the Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan is now automatically incorporated into court orders for paternity and support. Rest assured, though, that other agreements can also be made part of these orders - not just the new Title IV-D plan. And the Title IV-D plan itself must be agreed to by both parties.

A Minimum Amount of Parenting Time

Under the Title IV-D Standard Parenting Time Plan, the party making support payments (child, spousal support) is given "a reasonable minimum amount of time" with the children.

In other words, this new law has the practical effect of giving fathers (though certainly not fathers exclusively) an explicit right to spend time with their kids after divorce or separation.

And the plan is specific: It covers every other weekend, one evening per week, Thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break, and summer break.

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  • The Law Office of Daniel E. Forrest represents individuals in Fort Lauderdale in high-asset divorce matters. Daniel Forrest is board-certified family lawyer and mediator serving the South Florida area.
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