New Florida Bill on Parenting Time
A bill has been filed Jan. 30 that could bring about a major change in how the state and courts handle the mission of enhancing parenting time-sharing opportunities. Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed Senate Bill 590, which his office says “offers an optional default visitation schedule for non-custodial parents.”
SB 590 would add language to Florida law that governs the handling of child support by the Florida Department of Revenue. If passed, when people meet with the revenue department to set up their child support per his or her Title IV-D order, they would also be presented with an optional child visitation plan for unmarried parents.
The goal of the bill is to “encourage contact between non-custodial parents and their children,” according to Brandes’ office.
“Spending time with our children is the most valuable gift parents can give,” Brandes wrote. “The state currently requires child support be paid but is silent on time. This bill seeks to offer parents an optional time sharing plan, used in many other states, that puts the focus on parents spending time with their children.”
Offering the parenting plan would allow parents the ability to “bypass the court system and its associated fees,” according to Brandes’ office.
Acceptance of the new parenting plan would offer parents the option to go with the “plan as stated, deviate and agree upon a different plan, or they may be transferred to the courts system for further mediation.”
Exceptions are provided in the proposed bill including “when the child is under 3 years of age, when the parents live more than 100 miles away, and when there are domestic or family violence concerns.”
Brandes’ office added “the bill does not affect any child support arrangements; it seeks only to simplify the visitation schedule in order to benefit the child.”