The Florida legislature passed a sweeping new statute that will probably dramatically change “custody” and “visitation” in our state. It was presented to the governor on May 19, 2008 and was signed into law last week by the governor. The new law takes effect October 1, 2008.
The main change is that the new law completely does away with the terms “custody” and “visitation.” Now, parties, their attorneys and the courts will devise “parenting plans” which will spell out how parents are to parent and “timeshare” the children post-divorce.
Family law practitioners do not know how these changes will affect other areas of family law.
Questions that will be answered with time include whether changes to child support calculations will come in 2009; will head of household status and exemptions be affected; and, is this statute intended to be merely a label switching exercise or is the old “non-custodial/ secondary physical residence” parent now supposed to be more involved and have greater (“real”) rights?
Changes in the law are always challenging. Appeals of trial court decisions will provide “case law” that will interpret the new statute. Please check back for more information regarding this law change as it becomes available.