Whether you live in Jupiter or in Wellington, you are aware that the Florida legislature is currently debating whether 50-50 timesharing should presumably occur in all divorces. We all want to be fair. We all want to be involved in our children’s lives. However, there appears to be no psychological research that supports the proposition that equal timesharing is best for all children.
One counter-argument points out that it does not take into consideration the age/developmental level of the child. For instance, from birth to approximately six months, overnight contact would be contraindicated in situations where one parent has not significantly participated in activities such as feeding, comforting, playing with or routine parenting responsibilities. Parenting plans or visitation/timesharing schedules should insure that infants retain their relationships with the primary attachment figures, while simultaneously expanding their relationship with the parent who formerly had less in the way of child-caring responsibilities. Such a program involves substantial contact with both parents, but it does not equate to a 50-50 overnight timesharing arrangement.
There are similar concerns when dealing with teenaged children. As parents all know, teenagers view their peer group to be far more important than their parental attachments. Imposing a 50-50 timesharing/visitation arrangement on teenaged children can be disruptive to their social relationships, activities, and in their developing a sense of having a “home base”. Such a schedule also takes away from older teens (15 – 17 year olds) having a sense of autonomy and independence. Consequently, the bottom line is that all parents should be actively involved with their children in their children’s lives, regardless of their ages. However, when looking at the age and developmental requirements of children, that may not equate in all divorce cases to a 50-50 timesharing schedule. Experienced divorce attorneys in West Palm Beach and elsewhere in Florida acknowledge that although well intended, this statutory amendment may only create more litigation rather than less litigation in divorce cases.