One of the most important elements of a Florida parenting plan is the time-sharing schedule. Time-sharing, sometimes called visitation, lays out the details of when your child will spend time and/or reside with each parent. In today’s blog, we will go over what should be included in a time-sharing schedule and some tips and templates you can use to get ideas.
Guidelines for Building the Time-Sharing Schedule
As with all child-related decisions, the court will approve a time-sharing schedule that appropriately meets the child’s best interests. Florida’s guidelines specify that time-sharing schedules should:
- minimize the child’s disruption and loss;
- ensure security and stability for the child;
- shield the child from conflict;
- maximize relationships between the child and parents;
- anticipate and plan for changes in circumstances.
Note that the type of parenting plan will also determine what a time-sharing schedule should look like. Basic, long-distance, and highly structured parenting plans typically require more detailed schedules. Safety-focused plans involve supervised time-sharing and a list of days and times the restricted parent may visit.
It is important that the time-sharing schedule clearly exhibits the details in writing. Many parents opt for a visual calendar, which is even required in some counties. In particular, the schedule should include information about:
- specific times when each parent’s time-sharing begins and concludes (e.g., 8:00 am Friday to 6:00 pm Monday);
- provisions about how and where the child will be between homes exchanged, who transports the child, what they should bring with them, and what happens if a parent arrives late;
- how many overnights the children will spend with each parent in a year, which should add up to 365 and may be used to determine child support.
Florida courts also require a separate summer break schedule, unless parents don’t anticipate a change in the summer from their regular schedule. Parents should also provide an explanation in their parenting plan of which holidays and special occasions the child will spend with each parent.
Highly structured parenting plans should include the day and time of exchanges for each occasion, as well as rules for parent-child communication over the holiday. Holiday time-sharing parameters are key for co-parents (and their children) to avoid confusion and conflict.
Time-Sharing Schedule Examples
Parents are free to arrange their time-sharing schedules as they wish, though it may be helpful to take a look at some common schedules for ideas. Here are some popular schedules that you may modify to best fit your family’s needs:
- 50/50 Equal Time-Sharing
- Alternating weeks – the child can spend seven days at a time with one parent, then the other
- 3-4-4-3 – the child spends 3 days with one parent, 4 days with the other, and the next week the parent’s exchange (4 days with the first parent, 3 days with the other)
- 2-2-5-5 – the child spends 2 days with one parent, 2 days with the other, then 5 days with the first and 5 days with the second
- Majority/Minority Time-Sharing
- Every extended weekend – 60/40 arrangement where the child spends weekdays with one parent and a long weekend (e.g., after school on Friday to start of school on Monday) with the other
- Every weekend – 70/30 arrangement where the child spends the weekdays with one parent and the 2 weekend days with the other
- Alternating weekends – 80/20 arrangement where the child lives primarily with one parent and stays with the other parent every other weekend
The above are just some examples for you and the other parent to brainstorm from. You know your needs best, and it is between you as co-parents to do what is best for your child. Note that you have the right to modify a schedule if substantial changes in circumstances occur that warrant modification, such as justified relocation.
To learn more about negotiating and building your time-sharing schedule, as well as other parenting plan concerns, reach out to our team at the Law Offices of Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, P.A. We want to do the best for you and your family, and we have worked with countless families throughout our career on their time-sharing matters.
Contact the Law Offices of Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, P.A. to discuss your time-sharing proposal with our legal team.