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Changing Custody Laws: What Changed and How Does it Affect My Case? (50/50 presumption)

During the 2023 Legislative Session, there were significant changes made to Florida custody laws.

  • Establishing Paternity: Prior to the change, an unwed mother would automatically be the natural guardian of a child born to her unless the Father filed for paternity through court action. Now, Fathers can establish their parental rights without going through the Court. Signing the child's birth certificate now not only establishes the father's obligation to support the child but also establishes his rights to make parental decisions and timesharing with the child.

  • 50/50 Timesharing Presumption: Prior to the change, there was no presumption for any timesharing schedule. Timesharing was determined on a case-by-case basis and the best interest of the child was the standard to determine the timesharing schedule. Now, it is presumed that equal timesharing for both parents is in the best interests of the child. If either parent does not want equal timesharing, they will have to prove to the Court that equal timesharing is not in the child's best interest.

  • Modification Standard: Prior to the change, to modify a court-ordered parenting plan, the parent requesting the change would have to prove that the change was material, substantial, and unanticipated. Now, it is no longer necessary to prove that the change was unanticipated, which will make it easier to get parenting plans modified in the future.

As of today, July 1st, 2023, all of these changes are effective. If you have a current case pending, the change in laws may change how you need to approach your case. If you are thinking about starting a case, it is important to consider these changes when developing your case strategy.

Hire a qualified child custody lawyer to help you through this process. They will file the necessary paperwork for you, make any necessary adjustments, and make sure to preserve all of your rights!


Lakeisha R. Simms, Attorney at Law is a law firm practicing primarily in the areas of family law, small business law, and wills & estate planning. We service clients in their businesses and in our offices located in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

This is intended for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or a substitute for hiring an attorney. Furthermore, by sharing this information, it is in no way intended to establish an attorney - client relationship with the reader.


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