Time Sharing & Visitation

Visitation or time sharing of children both during and after a divorce or separation process is one of the most important determinations or decisions that will be made in the lives of both you and your children.  In the vocabulary of the Florida Family Law court today what was formally known as “visitation” by a noncustodial parent is now incorporated into a Parenting Plan under the title “time sharing.”  Regardless of what you call it, at the conclusion of your divorce or separation proceeding the judge will enter an order that controls how much time you spend with your child or children, when you see your kids, how you see them and where you see them.  

Although it is possible to modify these orders, in most cases modifications require a change in circumstances that is substantial, material and unanticipated, as well as a showing that the modification would be in the best interest of the child.  Given the high standard of evidence necessary to modify a time sharing or visitation plan, it is very important to anticipate the needs of your children well into the future and account for foreseen changes in the original Parenting Plan.  At Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A., we can help you prepare for the future and help guide you through the often complex issues involved in preparing a parenting plan.

It is the public policy of the state to Florida to encourage frequent and continuing contact with both parents and their children following a separation or divorce.  To this end, Florida courts encourage parents to share the rights, responsibilities and joys of childrearing.  Today, unlike in the past, there should be 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 a parenting plan.  Like all issues involving the courts and children, when considering how much time a parent will spend with their children following a divorce or separation, the judge is charged with doing what they feel is in the best interests of the child.  As such, all predispositions toward favoring a particular parent have been abolished.

There is also no fixed amount of time one parent must be allowed to spend with their children.  Time sharing is fact and situation driven and varies from case to case.  Depending on the circumstances, and if it is determined to be in the best interest of the children, visitation may be restricted to supervised visitation, visitation arranged through a supervisory center or visitation restricted in some other manner to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved is protected. 

Also remember that even if one parent is behind on their child support obligation you may not deny them visitation without the authority of the court.  Visitation and a relationship with your children is a fundamental right of any parent that can only be taken away voluntarily or under extreme circumstances.  If you have been denied visitation please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A.