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Divorce 101: Timesharing for Families who are Divorcing with at Least One Child

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This blog post is the second in the series on Divorce 101. This post will focus on timesharing for families who are divorcing with at least one child.

Timesharing is the new age term for what we used to describe as “custody.” Nowadays, neither party is awarded “custody” of the child. Absent very serious circumstances, instead, each parent retains full parental rights and responsibilities and a piece of the child’s time. It is important to remember that most  parents are awarded equal rights to his or her child(ren) in a divorce- this is called “shared parental responsibility.” However, the statutory factors govern the amount of time the child(ren) have will each parent- this is called “timesharing.”

As you learned in the first blog post of this series, statistically speaking, most divorces are settled outside of court. Usually the parties wish to decide how to divide their assets and liabilities as well as decide on the appropriate timesharing schedule for their children rather than have a judge decide.

Once timesharing is determined, then the child support guidelines can be run. As you learned in the first blog post, child support is determined by inputting the parties’ incomes, amount of overnights, health care and child care amounts into a Florida Child Support Guideline calculator.

Common Timesharing Schedules

In a settlement scenario, the timesharing schedule is completely decided upon by the parties but below are some examples of some common schedules we see:

70/30

A common 70/30 split is demonstrated below. This is generally better for younger children or for a parent who does not live close to the child’s school.

Example:

Alternating weekends (Friday- Monday morning).

Alternating/shared holidays and two weeks of summer vacation.

 

Parent A: Every other weekend and every Wednesday night.

Parent B: All other time.

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
B B A B A A A
B B A B B B B

 

50/50

Many families prefer the 50/50 split demonstrated below for school age children. Father and Mother alternate having 5 overnights with the child which means less transition. Also, most of the school days remain consistent. This helps the teacher and student stay organized.

Example:

Alternating weekends (Friday- Monday morning).

Alternating/shared holidays and two weeks of summer vacation.

 

Parent A: Every Monday and Tuesday.

Parent B: Every Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
A A B B A A A
A A B B B B B

 

These are just some common examples of timesharing plans. Many parties alter these plans to better suit their needs. Sometimes one party does not have a consistent schedule (i.e. a firefighter or work travel). You may decide it is best to have a timesharing schedule where the parties discuss the schedule on the 1st of each month and decide how to share the time. For example, one parent is entitled to two weekends each month and 5 other overnights. Then the parties determine which days are best.

Alternating or Shared Holidays

There are many holidays throughout the year and most timesharing schedules account for these special days. Having a schedule determined prior to the holiday allows each party to plan accordingly. Some timesharing schedules alternate the holidays each year. For example, one party gets Thanksgiving and one party gets Christmas. The next year the parties alternate. Some parties wish to split the actual day. Remember, your timesharing schedule is unique to your particular case. Your attorney will help create a plan that works for your family.

Child Support Calculations

After the parties determine the timesharing schedule, the attorney will run some child support numbers. To start, the net monthly income of each party is determined. Some monthly deductions do not count like voluntary retirement plans. Your attorney will help you determine the correct income to use for calculating child support.

Your attorney will also input the health care and child care monthly cost. Lastly, the attorney inputs the amount of overnights per party.

Here are some examples:

One child

Parent A: $5,500 monthly net

Parent B: $3,000 monthly net

Health Care Costs: Parent A $50 per month

Child Care Costs: None

 

50/50 Split: Parent A pays Parent B $275.50.

70/30 Split (Parent A has 70%): Parent B pays $123

70/30 Split (Parent B has 70%): Parent A pays $674

 

Summer

Many parties allow for up to two weeks of uninterrupted timesharing over the summer. This can be used consecutively or nonconsecutively, depending on the parties’ wishes. It may be a good idea to designate which party picks first each year if you think it may be a problem. One party can have first choice on even years, and the other on odds years.

Extras

To facilitate timesharing, some of our clients have used apps to help the stay organized and communicate. A simple Google search provides a variety of options.

If you are in a period of separation with your spouse, it is a good idea to keep a log of the timesharing schedule you are following. This can be a base to determine your final timesharing schedule and if your case goes to trial, the Judge may want to know the current timesharing schedule. Furthermore, if you are entitled to child support retro to a specific date, your attorney will need the timesharing schedule to calculate the arrears.

In Conclusion

One of the most important factors to a successful timesharing schedule is amicable communication, honesty and flexibility. Both parties should understand the schedule may change from time to time, emergencies happen and people are late. Our hope is to provide our client with a timesharing schedule that is fair and works. We would be happy to discuss your options and provide a plan for your case. Contact us today for more information!