On behalf of Rebecca H. Fischer of Fischer & Feldman, P.A. posted in Collaborative Law on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
Co-parenting is a challenging process which takes constant attention and patience. When a break up is fresh emotions are high and it can be hard for everyone to work together. It is important to consider what is best for your children as a top priority. First understand how equal time-sharing plans work and decide what works best for your family.
What is equal time-sharing? Is it the same as joint custody?
The term joint custody does not exist in Florida, but is known as time-sharing. A time-sharing plan is created by parents with the help of an attorney and is decided upon in court. Equal time-sharing plans allow you and the other parent to share the responsibilities of making important decisions about your child. This means that you both need to agree on living situations, schedules, rides, etc.
Deciding on a parenting plan
In order to set up an equal time-sharing plan both parents will need to decide on a parenting plan which will be presented to a judge. The plan should consider both parents’ work schedules, living arrangements, the child’s school location and schedule, and any additional needs. The judge will then decide if the plan takes the child’s best interests into consideration. In an equal time-sharing plan the child could live with both parents for equal amounts of time, rotating weeks or months.
When an equal time-sharing plan works best
Equal time-sharing living situations can be a great choice for some parents. Typically the ideal circumstances would be if both parents live close together so that the child can easily get to school from both homes. In this type of situation parents will choose to rotate living arrangements by every few weeks or month. This type of plan is preferred by many parents because they can both foster a strong relationship with their child given they have equal time together. This plan also provides a fair amount of time, effort, and expenses for both parents.
When equal time-sharing does not work
Some parents find that rotating each week or month can be tough on children. The child is constantly moving from one home back to the other. This can be hard on kids who find strong security in having a permanent home.
Equal time-sharing can be tricky if the parents cannot get along. Co-parenting is hard enough but sometimes an angry ex can use equal time-sharing as a game to make it even harder. Every set of parents and every child is different, requiring careful consideration to decide on a parenting plan. Take time to talk with the other parent and your child to find out what the best option is for everyone involved.