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Florida Ranks as a Top State for Divorced Fathers


If you are considering divorce or find yourself in the early stages of a Florida divorce, you may have concerns about child custody. We often work with parents who are worried that they will not be able to see their children as much as they would like once the divorce is finalized, or that the court will give child custody preference to the other parent when determining a time-sharing schedule. This is often a particular concern for fathers, who are worried that the court will adhere to older assumptions about mothers being primary caregivers.

It is important to be clear, first, that Florida law requires courts to begin from the presumption that minor children should have a relationship with both parents. We will say more about this, and then we want to discuss a study reported in Florida Today that says Florida ranks as one of the top states in the nation for divorced fathers.

Florida Law Presumptions About Child Custody and Time-Sharing 

Under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 61.13), courts that make decisions about child custody and time-sharing begin from the assumption that, unless there is a reason to limit a child’s relationship with either parent, the child will have a relationship with both parents after the divorce. The statute specifically states that each minor child will have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate and parents are encouraged to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.

The statute also expressly states that courts do not have a gender-based presumption in favor of one parent over the other: “There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.” The statute goes on to make clear that the court “shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.”

Why Florida Ranks Highly for Dads Going Through Divorces

To sum up our discussion of above, Florida law starts from the presumption that parents sharing custody is in the best interests of the child. Yet beyond this presumption, the Florida Today article suggests that Florida is particularly favorable state for dads who are going through a divorce. Why does Florida rank so highly for fathers?

According to the article, “fathers in Florida are more likely to get 50/50 custody of their children compared to other states.” In other words, even though the statute presumes that shared custody is important for kids in most situations, it does not expressly stipulate that parents should share 50/50 custody. Nonetheless, statistically parents do often get 50/50 custody in Florida. Compared to the national average, Florida looks especially favorable to fathers. To be sure, the article reports that, “nationally, a father is likely to receive about 35 percent of child custody time.”

Contact an Orlando Child Custody Lawyer 

Do you have questions or concerns about your child custody case? An Orlando child custody & timesharing attorney can assist you. Contact Anderson & Ferrin today to learn more.




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