The Division of Parental Responsibility

What the judge is looking for in your time sharing plan.

Custody litigation can be complex, expensive and time consuming. If you and your ex cannot determine an effective time sharing schedule for your children, then the court will determine one for you.  When determine time sharing, the judge has to hear and analyze evidence related to at least 20 factors that are set forth in Florida Statute 61.13.  

The second statutory factor a court will have to consider is as follows:

The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.

What are parental responsibilities?  Some parental responsibilities are very basic such as providing adequate shelter, food, safety, etc.  Other parental responsibilities are more complex, like ensuring your child has adequate self esteem, that your child has appropriate morals and values and in general grows up to be a functioning member of society. Other standard parental responsibilities include doing homework with your children, administering medications, providing proper discipline, etc. The judge is going to want you to provide testimony about how all of these parental responsibilities will be divided amongst the parents after you separate.  

One important thing the judge will consider is whether you will have to delegate these parental responsibilities to third parties.  For example, will you have to hire child care and day care services while you are at work?  Will you rely upon your new spouse or significant other to provide the basic parental responsibilities, like waking your child up every day and ensuring that your child’s home work is completed? Will you have to rely upon extended family members (like grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) to help with the parental responsibilities?  Having to rely on family members to help raise your child is something that is very common. These are all things the judge will want to know about and take under advisement when determining which parent the child should reside with the majority of the time.  

It goes without saying, but if you have historically been the parent who performed the majority of the parental responsibilities, then that is something the court will consider.  Usually, that will be evidence that will be in your favor during a custody dispute.  

Custody cases can be complex.  The family law court will weigh each statutory factor for and against each parent when making a decision regarding time sharing.  It is best to have an in depth conversation with an expert family law attorney about all of the custody factors listed in the statute.  

If you have any questions related to time sharing, or require legal assistance in other areas of Family Law, you may always contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected].