What Are The Changes To Florida’s Time – Sharing Law

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Time - Sharing Law

On Tuesday, June 27, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed into law HB 1301, which has made substantial changes  to Florida’s current laws on parenting and time-sharing. These changes went into effect on Saturday July 1, 2023. Below is an explanation of what this new law means.

Change #1: Creating an Equal (50-50) Time-sharing Presumption

The first significant change to Florida’s parenting and time-sharing statute is there is now a “Rebuttable” Presumption of equal time-sharing for the parties.

The statute prior to July 01, 2023, Section 61.13(2)(c)1, Florida Statutes, stated that “there is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.”

What does A “Rebuttable” Presumption Mean?

Effective July 1, 2023, that language has been amended to create a “rebuttable presumption that equal time-sharing of a minor child is in the best interests of the minor child.”

This presumption in favor of equal time-sharing may be rebutted, or overcome. To overcome this presumption of equal timesharing, a party “must prove by a preponderance of the evidence” or it is more likely than not that an equal timesharing schedule is not in the child’s best interest.

Does The Court Still Have to Address the Best Interest Factors in Section 61.13 Florida Statutes

YES. The changes to  Section 61.13, Florida Statutes does not relieve the Court from its obligation to consider the “best interest” factors in Section 61.13(3), such as the developmental stages and needs of the child or the capacity of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child.

Family Law Courts are required to  evaluate all of the factors in Section 61.13(3) and to make written findings regarding each factor.


Change #2: Modification Standard Revisions

The standard for modifying, or changing, a determination of parental responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing schedule has now been changed. Substantial changes in circumstances no longer need to be unanticipated.

The statute prior to July 01, 2023, Section 61.13(2)(c)1, Florida Statutes, a parent seeking to change one of these three determinations must prove that a “substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances” has occurred since the last determination. In other words, there must have been a significant change in circumstances,  that is both relevant and was unanticipated at the time the last determination was made.

Effective July 1, 2023, a parent seeking to modify a parenting plan, parental responsibility, or time-sharing schedule determination must only prove that a “substantial and material change in circumstances” has occurred. No longer is a party required to prove that the change was “unanticipated” or unexpected.

Change #3: Modifications For A Parent Relocating Within 50 Miles Of The Minor Child

If a  parent  of a child, who at the time the last Order for timesharing was entered, resided more than 50 miles apart from the child.

Effective July 1, 2023, if one parent moves within 50 miles of the other parent, that move can now be considered a “substantial and material change in circumstance” to allow for a modification to the parenting plan or time-sharing schedule.

The parent seeking the modification still has the burden to prove that it is in the best interest of the child.