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Does equal legal custody mean equal time?

Mar 15, 2023 | Family Law

Hammering out the details of your divorce when you have children can take its toll on even the most amicable split. Nothing can make a divorce contentious like trying to divide time with children.

If both parents decide to share legal custody, does that mean you each get the same time with the children? Learn about the difference and whether that all matters to a judge.

What is legal custody versus physical custody?

Legal custody involves who will have the right, under the law, to make decisions on behalf of your children. This includes where they go to school and what kind of medical attention they receive. In Florida, most family law judges prefer parents to have the equal right to do these things for their children. However, if necessary, a judge will award sole legal custody to one parent.

Physical custody in Florida means visitation or time sharing. This is the time children spend with each parent.

Do children have to split time between parents equally?

As part of a divorce with children, you and your ex need to finalize a time-sharing or parenting plan. Within this document is a schedule of who will have the children and for how long. A parenting time schedule does not have to divide evenly between you and your ex since much of it has to do with the age of the children and the availability of the parents.

Just because you and your spouse share legal custody evenly does not mean you need to divide time-sharing the same. Ultimately, it comes down to what is better for the children, and a judge will always err on that side of the law.

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