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Update on Florida child custody bill

Last month, we wrote a blog post asking some questions in response to a proposed measure that would enforce a presumption of equal parenting time in child custody cases in this state. In that post, which is available to read in full here, we examined the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a measure.

However, the bill was vetoed and will not be going into effect. If you are a Florida parent dealing with custody issues and concerns, this news can mean a few different things to you.

  1. There is no presumption of equal parenting time. In accordance with current laws, however, family court judges are required to favor parenting plans that allow a child to have frequent and ongoing contact with both parents, as long as such an arrangement is in the best interests of the child. 
  2. The lack of this presumption puts parents who do not participate in their kids' daily lives or show a considerable interest in protecting the relationship can be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to custody determinations.
  3. Negotiating and/or fighting for parenting time in mediation, collaborative meetings or in the courtroom will continue to be complicated -- but crucial -- elements of seeking a fair and agreeable parenting plan.

Whether you agreed with this proposed measure or not, the fact is that it was vetoed and courts will not be required to make any presumptions in favor (or against) equal parenting time.

With all this in mind, it will be important for mothers and fathers across Florida to continue working with family law attorneys in their pursuit of a parenting plan that protects both the well-being of the children, as well as the rights of the parents.

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