A couple of years ago Florida changed its statute on custody. Everybody thought the reason for the change was to make Florida a 50-50 custody state. That wasn’t the reason for the change at all. Actually, the reason for the change was pretty simple.
In Florida, too many people have never understand the law on how kids are to be raised by unmarried parents. Parents with primary custody often like authoritarians. They think that, just because they have “primary custody,” they are in complete control of the kids. They say things like, “I have primary custody, therefore you have no say in where the kids go to school.” They try to tell the noncustodial parent that they can’t show up for doctor visits, or that they can control what the kids did on the noncustodial parent’s time.
This wasn’t the law at all, either before the statute changed or after. This was never the law. So the statute was changed to make it clearer that this wasn’t the law. The statute was changed to use words like “timeshare” instead of “custody.” This change was so that people would understand that one parent has no more control over the kids than the other divorced parent.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the courthouse. So many people expected the statute to change into a 50-50 statute that it actually changed into a 50-50 statute, at least in some places.
In Florida, it seems things are changing. Despite the fact that not one word of that statute changed to turn Florida into a 50-50 state, strangely, Florida is slowly becoming a 50-50 state. In many parts of Florida, judges are deciding that 50-50 is the better custody choice for parents. Surprisingly, what everyone thought was going to happen with the new statute, but didn’t, actually did. Weird.