Florida Time-Sharing Schedule Guidelines

The time-sharing schedule is the part of your parenting plan that explains when children live and spend time with each parent. In other states, it's sometimes called a visitation schedule.

You can agree on a time-sharing arrangement in a settlement or submit proposed schedules in a trial for the judge or general magistrate to decide.

Florida courts emphasize the importance of time-sharing plans that prioritize children's best interests while supporting parent–child relationships.

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Factors to consider

According to Florida guidelines, schedules should:

  • Minimize children's disruption and loss
  • Ensure children's security and stability
  • Shield children from conflict
  • Maximize relationships between children and parents
  • Anticipate and plan for changes in circumstances

There are numerous other factors to consider when creating time-sharing schedules, including how parenting time affects child support.

Schedules for children of different ages often vary, even within the same family. In addition, families often need to modify schedules as children grow and situations evolve.

How parenting plans impact schedules

Parenting plans in Florida fall into four categories.

Basic, long-distance and highly structured plans require a detailed written schedule. This may involve a chart or multiple paragraphs. In addition, a visual calendar is strongly recommended (and required in some counties).

Safety-focused plans, used when one parent's time-sharing must be supervised or otherwise limited, simply list the days and times of visits to the restricted parent. This is because these plans typically don't involve as many visits or exchanges as the other three types of plans. In the rare case that the court orders no parenting time, this is indicated in place of a schedule.

A safety-focused plan must also include rules for visits, such as the details of supervision.

Explaining time-sharing arrangement in your parenting plan

Both written and visual schedules should indicate precisely when each parent's time-sharing begins and ends. For example, if children spend weekends with one parent, the schedule must indicate when this parenting time starts and finishes — say, from 4 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday.

You should also include provisions about how and where children will be exchanged, indicating who will transport the children, what they should bring between homes, and what will happen if a parent arrives late.

In addition, you must calculate how many overnights the children will spend with each parent in a year. Include the numbers in your parenting plan. They must add up to 365 and will be used to determine child support.

Common schedules

You have nearly limitless options for shared parenting schedules. Go with whatever works best for your family; you might adopt a popular schedule as is, make adjustments, or invent your own entirely.

Use the popular schedules below to start brainstorming.

Equal time-sharing schedules (50/50)

The alternating weeks schedule has children spend seven days with one parent, then seven days with the other.

The 3-4-4-3 schedule has children spend three days with one parent, then four days with the other parent. The next week, children spend four days with the first parent, then three days with the other.

In the 2-2-5-5 schedule, children spend two days with one parent, two days with the other, then five days with the first parent and five days with the second.

Majority/minority time-sharing schedules

The every extended weekend schedule is a 60/40 arrangement that has children spend weekdays with one parent and a long weekend with the other. The extended weekend typically begins when children finish school on Friday and ends when school starts on Monday.

The every weekend schedule is a 70/30 arrangement in which children spend the weekdays with one parent and a two-day weekend with the other.

A common 80/20 arrangement, the alternating weekends schedule has children live primarily with one parent and stay with the other parent every other weekend.

Summers, holidays and special occasions

Courts require a separate summer break schedule. If your schedule won't change during the summer, indicate this in your plan.

In addition, courts require an explanation of which holidays and special occasions the children will spend with each parent. Alternating which parent gets a particular holiday each year is a common arrangement.

If you're using a highly structured parenting plan, your holiday schedules must include the day and time of exchanges for each occasion, as well as rules for parent–child communication over holidays. Even if you're not using this type of plan, experts recommend you set holiday time-sharing and communication parameters to reduce confusion and conflict.

The safety-focused plan is an exception; it does not require summer or holiday schedules.

The easiest way to make a schedule

If you're like most parents, creating a time-sharing schedule will feel daunting. How do you write something that meets legal requirements and doesn't leave any loose ends?

The Custody X Change app makes it easy. First, click and drag in your color-coded calendar.

Then watch a full description appear in your parenting plan.

The combination of a visual and written schedule means your family will have no problem knowing who has the children when. Take advantage of Custody X Change to make your schedule as clear and thorough as can be.

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