Proposed bill granting 50/50 time-sharing between divorced parents is bad idea | Opinion – Florida Today

There is an existential threat to children in legislation currently being considered by the Florida House. If passed, House Bill 1395 would codify into law a presumption of 50/50 time-sharing between divorced parents. While this may sound fair and reasonable on its face, it is not; it poses a real risk to our state’s children and, I believe, it must be stopped.
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As a regularly appointed social investigator in family law cases, I work almost exclusively with families who are going through a divorce and are in conflict over the timesharing of their children. So, it is with this extensive firsthand experience that I speak out against this presumption of 50/50 time-sharing provision in HB 1395.
There is no single optimal formula for deciding how much time children need with each parent; in fact, it is the opposite. Just like each divorce is unique and deserves to be treated that way, time-sharing decisions for children are the same. By taking each case individually, you have a better chance of an outcome that best fits that family, and more importantly the children involved.
Beyond the individuality of each family, this change would, in actuality, force families into litigation, further damaging the child as they are the subject of lawsuits. We know that divorce can be difficult on children, this presumption makes it worse.
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Finally, I frequently lecture in regard to this topic and so stay up to date on the literature and studies focusing on time-sharing, and I am confident in saying there is no social science literature that can be found that suggests a blanket equal time-sharing presumption is in the best interest of children. So, I must ask, why would we start this in Florida if there is no reasoning behind it?
I strongly urge lawmakers to reject HB 1395, as it would harm Florida’s children by etching 50/50 time-sharing into Florida law.
Dr. Deborah Day, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist, licensed mental health counselor and certified family mediator.
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