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How do the Florida Family Law changes affect our family?
On July 1, 2023, there were amendments to §61.13, Florida Statutes, enacted that affect timesharing, paternity, modifications and more. The changes do not specifically state that a previous agreement will automatically change, but if a party wants to modify a previous agreement, it will be addressed by the court according to the new amendments.
What has changed about timesharing?
Prior to July 1st, the court did not have a presumption about the timesharing each parent should be awarded. If the parents did not agree on a timesharing schedule, the parents would eventually attend a trial and plead their case to the Judge as to why his or her timesharing schedule was in the best interests of the child(ren).
As of July 1st, there is a rebuttable presumption that equal timesharing is in the best interests of the child(ren). To disprove this presumption, a party must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that equal timesharing is not in the best interests of the child(ren). Now, the court starts off with an equal timesharing schedule and the party that does not agree to that schedule must provide evidence that will prove equal timesharing is not in the best interests of the child(ren).
What if I want to modify our parenting plan?
Prior to July 1st, if a party wanted to modify an existing parenting plan, the party was required to show that there was a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.
As of July 1st, a party no longer needs to show that the change was unanticipated. Essentially, it could be easier to modify an existing parenting plan. For example, prior to the change if a party had been living farther than 50 miles from the other party and decided to move closer than the 50 miles, it was not considered enough to require a modification. Now, a modification can be requested in that scenario. The court will need to determine if the modification is in the best interests of the child(ren).
Every case is different. If you are contemplating a divorce action, a paternity case or just want to know how these changes can affect your existing order, give us a call for a consultation. Our firm is passionate about providing legal assistance to our community.