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FACTORS TO DETERMINE PRIMARY RESIDENTIAL PARENT FLORIDA STATUTE 61.13(3)
On October 1, 2008, a new law replaced the governing law on time sharing and substantially changed the Courts approach to Primary Residence — Contact your Tampa Divorce Lawyer for more information or continue to read this web page for future updates.
61.13(3)For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing,
approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which governs each parent’s
relationship with his or her minor child and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration. Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the minor child, including, but not limited to:
(a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and
continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when
changes are required.
(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.
(c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the
needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the
circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.
(k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.
(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of
issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.
(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect,
regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.
(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior
or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child
(o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental
responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.
(p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
(q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child
which is free from substance abuse.
(r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as
demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media
related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.
(s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.
(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule.
Question of the week:
Is it true that the law changed as to custody and that the parents will now have to have split or 50/50 custody?
This is a great misconception. There was a significant law change in regard to child custody and
timesharing that took effect on October 1, 2008, but that law does not necessarily translate to equal time. The Court is looking to remove the fight over primary residential rights and now wants people to focus on how they will share time with the child. This is different from mandatory 50/50 time. The Court must still look to the best interest of the child to determine how time will be shared between the parents. Moreover, the Divorce Court will want you to work with your co-parent to develop a time sharing parenting plan. To evaluate the specifics of your case contact your Tampa Divorce Attorney.