Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

Child Custody in Florida: Is a 50/50 Split of Time Automatic?


Are you a divorced or separated parent in Florida? You may be wondering: Does the state have an automatic 50/50 split of time for child custody? The short answer is “no”—while state policy strongly favors shared parental custody and now presumes an equal time-sharing arrangement, a 50/50 time-sharing split is by no means automatic or guaranteed as a matter of law. Within this blog post, our Largo child custody attorney explains the key points parents should know about time-sharing in Florida.

Know the Law: The Best Interests of the Child in Florida 

Here is the most important thing that parents should know about child custody law in Florida: The best interests of the child take priority (Florida Statutes § 61.13). State law does not automatically favor either parent over the other. Instead, courts consider a variety of factors, including:

  • The child’s emotional and developmental needs
  • Each the parents’ ability to provide for these needs;
  • The strength of the child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The mental and physical health of the parents;
  • The reasonable preference of the child (if old/mature enough);
  • The willingness of each parent to cooperate with the other; and
  • Any history of abuse or neglect.

Joint Custody is Presumed, but a 50/50 Split is Far From Automatic 

Courts in Florida presume that it is inherently best for children to have a continued, positive relationship with each of their parents. With that being said, Florida law does not automatically award parents an equal (50/50) split of parenting time. There are a number of different reasons why a court may determine that an unequal time-sharing split is in the best interests of the child. Most often, this is for practical or logistical reasons, such as the distance between the parents’ homes, the child’s school schedule, or the parents’ work schedules.

Note: To be clear, this does not mean that 50/50 child time-sharing is disfavored. Courts in Florida regularly approve 50/50 time-sharing for parents in custody cases.

 You and Your Co-Parent Can Negotiate a Workable Time-Sharing Schedule 

A collaborative approach often works best in child custody cases. Florida courts encourage parents to work together to develop a parenting plan that suits their circumstances and meets the child’s needs. Parents have the opportunity to negotiate details of the time-sharing schedule, including:

  • The daily structure;
  • Weekends;
  • Pick-up and drop-off times;
  • Extracurricular activities; and
  • Holiday arrangements.

Notably, mediation services can be helpful for parents who are struggling to resolve child custody issues on their own. You do not have to take on a custody or visitation case on your own. An experienced Florida custody lawyer will help you find the best solution.

Get Help From Our Child Custody Lawyer in Largo, Florida

At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Largo child custody attorney is standing by, ready to protect your rights and your interests. Have questions about a custody or visitation case? Contact our family law firm today for a completely private initial consultation. From our Largo office, we handle custody and visitation cases throughout Pinellas County.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn