On June 27, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed CS/HB 1301 into law. This new legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that equal time-sharing is in the best interest of a child. This is a major victory for many fathers throughout the state who currently have divorce and paternity matters pending.
Specifically, § 61.13(2)(c)(1), Fla. Stat., is amended, in part, as follows:
“It is the public policy of this state that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. Unless otherwise provided in this section or agreed to by the parties there is a rebuttable presumption that equal time-sharing of a minor child is in the best interests of the minor child. To rebut this presumption, a party must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that equal time-sharing is not in the best interest of the child”
Also, pursuant to § 61.13(2)(c)(3), Fla. Stat., parents who have a time-sharing arrangement while living more than fifty (50) miles a part from one another, and if one of the parents now moves to within fifty (50) miles of the other parent, will be able to petition the court to modify the time-sharing arrangement where it will automatically be deemed a substantial change in circumstances as a matter of law.
Prior to the enactment of this legislation, there has always been a presumption of shared parental responsibility but not equal time-sharing between parents. Now, both parents enter court on equal footing and are entitled to equal time sharing with their child(ren) in addition to the presumption of shared responsibility
This legislation takes effect on July 1, 2023.