The New Child Custody Laws in Florida

Posted on September 12th, 2023

Child Custody Lawyer


There has been no better time in Florida to address child custody issues than now.  Governor Ron Desantis signed into law House Bill 1301 which took effect on July 1, 2023.   As of July 1, 2023, section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes  provides for a presumption that “equal timesharing” is in the minor child(ren)’s best interest.  Modification of child custody is also easier under Florida’s new child custody law.   A “substantial change in circumstances” is still required, but its no longer required to prove an “unanticipated” change. The new law applies to all pending matters.

Maybe you or someone you know may benefit from the change in Florida law.  The new law will help unwed fathers gain the best results that will ensure a meaningful relationship with their children.  Prior to July 1, 2023, the court would generally award timesharing in accordance with the guidelines which provide a 60/40 timesharing split in most Florida counties.  After enactment of the July 1, 2023 legal presumption, it is much easier for parties in child custody disputes to insist on equal timesharing.  Because, if the parties can not agree on equal timesharing, the court is now required to operate under the presumption that equal timesharing is in the minor child(ren)’s best interest.  In order for the court to deny a party equal timesharing, it must make written findings consistent with the statutory factors in support of its conclusion.

Under the Previous Law

In times past, courts would typically avoid awarding equal timesharing.  In 2008, the Florida legislature removed “custody” from the statute and replaced it with timesharing.  The 2008 change was intended to make it easier for both parents to spend meaningful time with their child(ren) upon separation.  The 2008 change also intended to minimize the concept of a battle over “custody.”  Lastly, the 2008 change also intended to create a unified front between parents and their child(ren).  As a result of the 2023 changes, the courts recognize equal timesharing as being in the child(ren)’s best interest.

Modification of custody under the previous law required the petitioner to prove an “unanticipated change in circumstances.”  In addition, the petitioner must show modification of custody is in the child(ren)’s best interest.


There is no reason for any parent to allow the other to control timesharing with your child.  Every parent has a fundamental right to rear their child(ren).  Every parent has a fundamental right to the joys of raising their child(ren).  If your co-parent systemically denies you a meaningful relationship with your child(ren), and you file a petition to address parenting and timesharing, it is more likely than not your co-parent will be disappointed with the outcome.  Likewise, if you have experienced a change in circumstances and your child custody arrangement is in need of modification, then you should immediately consult with child custody specialist Sam Jubran.  There is no better time than now under Florida law to take care of custody issues.  The law favors both parents equally, and the burden for modification is easier to prove.