Although there is no timesharing bill in Florida this year, SB 590 seeks to establish parenting plans in child support proceedings. The good news about this bill is that parents brought to court on child support matters can actually address parenting time. Currently, the Department of Revenue can seek to establish child support without taking into account parenting time. Since child support decreases when the paying parent exercises some percentage of parenting time, this means that, in a child support proceeding, support is set at a “highest and best” amount- which is often unaffordable for the paying parent. In an attempt to meet the bills purported goal of “encouraging frequent contact between a parent and child” and “optimiz[ing] the close and continuing relationship between each parent and child”, parents can now agree to a “Standard Parenting Plan”.
The bad news, for many, is that the “Standard Parenting Plan” consists of every other weekend and one non-overnight per week. This falls short of what many parents are seeking. There is no research to support this “standard” plan. To the contrary, it falls short of what leading researchers and social scientists agree is best for children. This bill apparently had no trouble being heard by the children and elder affairs committee and is now making its way through the judiciary.
While it may help “some” parents spend “some” time with their children, compared to current Dept of Revenue proceedings where a support paying parent cannot even discuss seeing his/her children, the bill not only falls short of established research, it is also far less reaching than the shared parenting bills filed in 25 other states.It is unknown whether the Florida limited timesharing bill will pass. We will continue to provide updates on this as well as other shared parenting matters.