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What’s in a name?

Remember “visitation?” And references to “primary” and “secondary” custodial parents?

 Well, those words are no longer being used in the family law world.

 Recently, the Florida Legislature changed the nomenclature of visitation in Florida Chapter 61 to “time-sharing.”  The parties involved are now called “mother” and “father.”  There is no longer a “primary residential parent.”

 This may seem inconsequential — but that’s not the case. These changes were made to move more parents toward more 50-50 or joint time-sharing arrangements.

 In fact one recent district court stated that the new law means that the court must start its time-sharing at 50/50. This is a major shift from the past when most fathers only received alternate weekend time with their children.

 Time will tell if more district courts adhere to this view. Nonetheless, since one court has spoken on this issue, that is supposed to be the law of the State of Florida.

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