Equal Child Custody Time Sharing Also Helps Parents
By Orlando Family Law Attorney Eduardo J. Mejias
Practicing Family Law Only Since 2011
Equal Child Custody Time Sharing Reduces Hostility Between Divorcing Parents
Equal time-sharing benefits parents as well as children. Under the current “clean slate” of child custody time sharing, litigating parents will often take extreme positions at the outset of the mediation negotiations. This approach, while unhealthy in the long run, makes some sense in the moment. Parents that are as likely (or more) to receive 75% time-sharing as equal time-sharing are incentivized to aim for the higher amount, and settle for less only when she loses leverage or litigation funds.
This inevitable negotiating tactic translates into unproven and vitriolic character attacks on the other parent in the initial petition, all designed to convey that parent's poor parenting skills. That other parent receives this public document impugning his character, and naturally wants to “fight fire with fire” and strike back with an equally damning counter-petition. Thus, the initial pleadings add even more hostility to the already tense situation.
A rebuttable presumption of 50-50 time sharing largely prevents this type of exchange of hostilities.
“Clean-slate” Child Custody Time Sharing Promotes Additional Litigation
The clean-slate paradigm also encourages family law litigants to file pre-mediation motions and petitions for injunctions. Motions for exclusive use of the home and petitions for injunctions provide the victorious parent with de facto increased or exclusive time-sharing with the children.
Consequently, the more time that the losing parent has to spend away from his children, the less likely he will be able to secure equal time-sharing at a future trial. The other parent can now resort to countless delay tactics to postpone a trial for several months or more. When the family law judge finally does conduct the trial, the losing parent will have to overcome the vague, but often-cited need to “keep things consistent” for the children, which means allowing the aggressive parent to maintain majority time-sharing. Clean-slate time-sharing rewards contentious, costly and emotionally scarring litigation. Is this how we want time-sharing to be determined?
Equal Time Sharing Narrows Conflicts, Reduces Attorney Fees and Promotes Cooperation
Now, imagine if parents knew from the beginning that most time-sharing determinations result in the granting of equal time-sharing. Excluding the obvious but limited exceptions involving parental unfitness, abandonment, and abuse, parents will put down their swords, accept equal time-sharing as a given, and focus only on hammering out the fine details of the parenting plan. The narrowing of potential conflict reduces acrimony between the parents, reduces their attorney’s fees, and promotes cooperation. Which alternative sounds better?
Equal Time Sharing Also Helps Both Parents After The Divorce
Furthermore, the implementation of equal time-sharing will allow each parent to play a substantial role in their child’s life after the divorce without feeling overwhelmed. Father and mother can lead balanced and emotionally fulfilling lives. There also would be less incentive to file petitions for modifications to “get even” for the perceived child custody time sharing injustice suffered at the trial.
Overall, parents would benefit as much as their children from a rebuttable resumption of equal time-sharing.
How We Can Help
If you have any questions about equal time-sharing, or any other family law topic, I encourage you to call AAA Family Law at (407) 260-6001, and schedule a consultation with me.