• Clark Henderson

The basics of parental responsibility and timeshare in a Florida military divorce.

If you are in the military or married to someone who is, you need to be aware of the laws governing parental responsibility and timeshare when facing a divorce in Florida. The rules aren’t that different from what you'd expect for civilian parents. Therefore, to make the best decisions about your children's future, here are the basics that you should know.



What does the court consider?

Generally, during military divorce, the court looks to determine which parent has been the primary caregiver. This is the parent who has been responsible for the majority of the child's care, including feeding, bathing, school, providing transportation, etc. The court will consider other factors, like work schedule, ability to provide a stable home, etc. The factors the court must consider are listed in Florida Statutes §61.13(3)(a)-(t).


What happens during deployments?

Florida lawmakers addressed some of these difficulties by passing The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, which allows deployed parents to file motions requesting modification of time sharing and parental responsibility agreements. Service members who are activated, temporarily assigned to military service, or deployed can request a temporary modification of a time sharing arrangement if their deployment has a material effect on their ability to comply with a time sharing arrangement; and there is clear and convincing evidence that modification is in their child’s best interests.


The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act also permits parents who are deployed to designate a person to exercise time sharing rights on their behalf. However, only certain individuals qualify for this designation, including an adult family member of the child or an adult who is not a family member with whom the child has a close and substantial relationship. The child’s other parent will only be permitted to object to such a designation if the modified arrangement would not be in the child’s best interests. There is a strict notice requirement that is required to be able to exercise this option.


Parental relocation in Florida divorce

If one parent plans to relocate at least 50 miles from their current residence at the time of the last order establishing or modifying time-sharing, or at the time of filing the pending action to establish or modify time-sharing, they must follow the procedures outline in Florida Statutes §61.13001. If the other parent objects to the relocation, they can file an objection with the court to have the issue addressed by the court.