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Timesharing Myths Debunked

Posted on May 10, 2023

One of the biggest fears of divorcing couples is losing access to their children. Parents worry that they will lose the ability to see their children regularly or make important life decisions for them. Many of the myths surrounding children and divorce are out-of-date notions that may have been true in past generations, but no longer; others were never true at all. Let’s explore some of the more common myths about timesharing after divorce:

Myth: The courts favor awarding the majority of timesharing to the mother. Fathers are at an inherent disadvantage.

Truth: In older generations, courts typically awarded primary timesharing rights to the mother, with the father having visitation on the weekends; however, those days ended decades ago. Today, the Florida courts believe that children are generally best-served by spending equal amounts of time with both parents. Neither the mother nor the father has an inherent advantage or disadvantage.

Myth: My ex is threatening to take the children from me. I’m scared I could lose all timesharing and parental responsibility rights in a divorce.

Truth: This is highly unlikely; in the vast majority of divorce cases, both parents share timesharing rights. As noted above, the court prefers that children receive roughly equal timesharing with each parent. The court will only revoke all timesharing and parental responsibility rights in cases where the child is in danger, such as physical or sexual abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, neglect, or failing to create a safe environment for the child. Moreover, if your ex tries to alienate you from the child by telling them negative stories about you, the courts could reduce their timesharing allocation with the child.

Myth: My ex is vindictive. If I fall behind on my child support payments, they said I can’t see my child anymore.

Truth: Paying your child support on time each month needs to be a top priority – your child is depending on you for this. If your financial situation changes, you can ask the court for a modified child support plan that reflects your new financial reality. However, even if you fall behind, that has no bearing on your ability to spend time with your children. The courts treat child support separately from timesharing.

Myth: Older children and teens can decide which parent they want to live with. Since my ex is the default parent, my children will choose to live with them.

Truth: The courts can take into consideration the children’s preferences, but they will not grant one parent sole timesharing rights simply because the children prefer one parent over the other. Unless there is abuse, neglect, or another harmful condition as noted earlier, both parents will have timesharing and parental responsibility for the children.

Many parents make the unfortunate choice to stay in a loveless marriage because they fear losing their children if they divorce. If you are a parent contemplating divorce, contact Troy Legal to learn your rights so you can base your choices on facts instead of myths.

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