Over the past few years, I've received many phone calls from clients who wish to avoid fighting over the living arrangements of their children when they get divorced. Often, the only thing that the husband and wife agree on is that they both want to spend a lot of time with their children. Usually they work out a schedule where the children would spend equal (or near equal) time with each parent.
Unfortunately, I had to tell these parents that the court looked unfavorably on such a time-sharing (or visitation) schedule. I was my impression that most judges thought that such an arrangement was hard on the children. While husbands and wives are free to settle their divorce case as they see fit, the time-sharing schedule will only be approved by the court if the judge thinks that schedule is in the children's best interest. Often we could convince the judge that an equal time-sharing arrangement was in the children's best interests, but it was an uphill battle. In legal terms, there was a presumption against equal time-sharing.
Fortunately, there is no longer such a presumption. A recent appellate case specifically held that "....there is no longer a presumption against equal time-sharing."
I'm my opinion, this will allow parents a greater opportunity to design a time-sharing plan that works for their family without having to worry as much about getting judicial approval for their plan.
If you would like to discuss this or any other family law issues, please call my office at 904-858-4334 or visit my website at Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer or Jacksonville Divorce Mediation .