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What is Joint Custody?

If you have a child and are in the middle of a divorce, you may need to decide whether or not you will ask for joint custody. Joint custody, which is known as time-sharing in the Florida Statutes, dictates who will have responsibility for taking care of your child, as well as when and what that role entails.

 

In order for the judge to make a determination on timesharing in your case, you will need to present the court with a proposed parenting and custody plan. This plan will outline when you and your spouse will have the responsibility of caring for your child’s daily upbringing and health, and should include specific days and times that the timesharing will begin and end. Ideally, you and your spouse will work together to create this plan, keeping in mind what is best for your child and family as a whole. If you cannot agree on a plan, your judge may send you to mediation to work through your different ideas and come up with something you can both agree on. If you cannot agree, even with the help of a mediator, your judge will make the final determination based on the facts you present at your trial.

 

In some situations, your judge may determine that it is in your child’s best interest to deny timesharing and grant full time to you or your spouse alone. To make such a ruling, your judge would have to determine that your child would be harmed by a shared arrangement. For example, if you or your spouse has been convicted on domestic violence charges, or there is adequate evidence of domestic violence, your judge may decline a timeshare arrangement and provide sole parental responsibility to the innocent party. The same is true for other criminal convictions.

 

It is important to remember that all timeshare situations are unique and require effort to complete. This is intended only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

 

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