On June 28, 2023, the Florida legislature
Signed into law HB 1301 which significantly amended Section 61.30, Florida Statutes regarding Parenting and Time-Sharing in Florida. HB 1301 takes effect July 1, 2023. The changes are as follow:
Equal Timesharing is Presumed to be in the Best Interest of the Minor Child:
- The new statute creates a rebuttal presumption that equal time-sharing for both parents is in the best interest of the parties’ minor children. The old statute did not have a presumption either way and was focused only on what the court determined to be in the best interest of minor children.
- The burden of proof to rebut the presumption that equal time-sharing is in the best interest of the children requires the party seeking a different time-sharing schedule prove by a preponderance of the evidence that 50-50 time-sharing is not in the best interest of the minor children. A preponderance of the evidence means that the claim is more likely to be true
than not. (Which boils down to proving that there is a greater than 50% likelihood that the claim that equal time-sharing is not in the best interest of the minor children is true.)
- The Court must evaluate all of the factors listed in the time-sharing statute and make specific findings of fact unless the time-sharing schedule being adopted is agreed to by the parties.
An Unanticipated Change in Circumstances is No Longer Required for Modification
- Under the new statute, if the parents of a child are residing greater than 50 miles apart at the time of the entry of the last timesharing order, and one of the parents moves within 50 miles of the other parent, that move may be considered a substantial and material change in circumstance for the purposes of a modification of the time-sharing schedule. The party requesting the modification would still need to demonstrate that the modification is in the best interest of the child. This change in the law will have a significant impact on parenting matters going forward and orders previously entered. We may see the amount of modification actions increase as a result.
The attorneys at Johnson Ritchey Family Law PLLC are highly skilled and competent to handle all parental responsibility and timesharing related issues in dissolution and paternity actions, including post-judgment modifications and enforcement actions that might be necessary.