If you are a father considering or going through a divorce, you may be worried that the court will treat you unfairly when it comes to timesharing. If this is how you feel, it is understandable. But is it really true that Florida courts favor mothers over fathers when making timesharing decisions? Are Florida courts biased against fathers when it comes to timesharing?
Are Florida Courts Biased Against Fathers When it Comes to Timesharing?
If you are a father considering or going through a divorce, you should know that Florida courts are not biased against fathers when it comes to timesharing. Even though statistics indicate that mothers win more timesharing battles than fathers, the truth is that a timesharing outcome has nothing to do with the gender of the parent. It is a myth that Florida courts favor mothers over fathers when making timesharing decisions.
So why does this myth exist? This myth exists mainly because, from a statistical point, it appears mothers win more timesharing battles than fathers. Statistics may lead some people to believe that the courts favor mothers over fathers. Also, societal and individual prejudices may lead people to believe courts favor mothers over fathers.
That said, it is worth mentioning that courts favored mothers over fathers in the past decades when making timesharing decisions. Courts used the “Tender Years Doctrine”, which is a principle that presumes that a child is better off with the mother because a mother is well equipped to meet the child’s needs. However, courts ditched this doctrine after it was determined that a child is better off spending equal time with both parents unless such an arrangement is detrimental to the child.
Florida Law on Timesharing
According to Florida Statute 61.13, the state of Florida believes in children having frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or divorce. Florida law is not biased against any gender when it comes to timesharing. Florida courts prefer when both parents work together to create a realistic parenting plan that works for the child.
What Do Florida Courts Consider When Making Timesharing Decisions?
So, if Florida courts do not consider gender when making timesharing decisions, what do they consider? In Florida, the “best interests of the child doctrine” is what is considered in timesharing proceedings. This often means allowing a child to see and have a continuous relationship with both parents. However, if it is not in the child’s best interests to see and have a continuous relationship with both parents, the court will award sole parental responsibility to one parent.
When determining what is in a child’s best interest, the court considers several factors, including the following;
- Each parent’s demonstrated ability to facilitate and encourage a close and ongoing parent-child relationship
- The amount of time a child has lived in a stable home and the desirability to maintain that continuity
- The health of the parents
- The moral fitness of the parents
- A parent’s demonstrated capacity to determine, consider, and act upon the child’s needs as opposed to their own needs
- A parent’s demonstrated capacity and disposition to provide the child with a consistent routine
- A parent’s demonstrated capacity to communicate with the other parent and keep them informed about matters concerning their child
- Where parents will live and how that will affect the child
- The amount of time each parent spent with the child before the divorce
Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney
If you are a father who needs help ensuring you get a fair divorce outcome, contact our experienced divorce attorneys at Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A.