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What Goes Into a Child Time-Sharing Schedule?


For parents, going through a divorce or a separation can be deeply challenging. A well-formulated parenting plan helps to make things a little easier. Essentially, a time-sharing schedule is the part of a parenting plan that outlines when the child will be with each parent. Here, our Tampa child custody attorneys highlight the key things that Florida parents need to know about child time-sharing schedules.

Florida Law: The Principles of a Time-Sharing Plan

Under Florida law, all custody and visitation matters are handled with an eye towards the best interests of the child. Family courts strongly emphasize that a time-sharing plan should promote the health, safety, and overall well-being of the child. What the parents want is, for the most part, a secondary consideration for courts. Florida state guidelines state that a time-sharing plan should conform to the following five key principles:

  1. Maximize the child’s relationship with each parent;
  2. Minimize disruption to the child’s life;
  3. Shield and protect the child from parental conflict;
  4. Maintain flexibility and allow for adjustments and changes; and
  5. Ensure overall safety and stability.

Four Categories of Parenting Plans

Not every family faces the same challenges. In some cases, separated parents are able to work well together and may not need much intervention from courts. In other cases, parents may have deep conflict that makes co-parenting difficult. In Florida, parenting plans (and time-sharing plans) fall into one of four different categories:

  • Basic: A basic time-sharing plan is meant for separated parents who need the least amount of support.
  • Long Distance: A long distance parenting plan is meant for families who are separated by enough distance that travel/transportation is a material issue.
  • Highly Structured: For parents that desire (or need) a highly detailed parenting plan and time-sharing schedule to protect the best interests of their children.
  • Safety-Focused: When one parent’s time is supervised or otherwise legally restricted, a safety-focused plan is necessary.

Details Matter: Create a Customized Schedule for Your Family  

What a child-time sharing schedule looks like will depend entirely on the specific circumstances facing your family. That being said, it should always be comprehensive. When crafting a parenting plan, it is important to focus on the small details. A time-sharing schedule should clearly explain when and where the child will be at all times. That is the basic structure of the plan.

Beyond a day-to-day schedule, a time-sharing plan should also make arrangements for special occasions—such as birthdays, holidays, school vacations, and other times where deviation may be required. Finally, there should be some mechanism for allowing for modifications. Your family needs a detailed time-sharing plan that is customized to meet your unique situation.

Contact Our Tampa Child Custody Lawyers Today

At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Hillsborough County family law attorneys are committed to helping our clients find the best solution. If you have any questions about time-sharing schedules, please contact us for a confidential, no commitment case evaluation. We handle custody and visitation cases throughout the region, including in Apollo Beach, Gibsonton, Ruskin, Brandon, and Riverview.





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