Call to Action From Family Section Chair re: SB 590

Dear Family Law Section Members,

The Family Law Section has a standing position against, and has steadfastly refused to endorse, the establishment of any kind of “presumptive” timesharing schedule for Florida’s children and families. Last year, thanks in large part to the diligent efforts of many of our Section members, Governor Scott vetoed a proposed “50/50 timesharing presumption” in family law cases in Florida. It has become necessary for us to contact Governor Scott to oppose yet another attempt by the Florida Legislature to adopt a presumptive timesharing plan.

Throughout this year’s Legislative session, the Family Law Section has opposed pending legislation that would impact how Department of Revenue (DOR) administrative child support cases are handled. In response to this legislation, in February our Section adopted a formal standing position to oppose “any legislation that permits the administrative establishment of a timesharing schedule or parenting plan.” I have attached a copy of the enrolled version of SB 590 for your reference – please read it so that you are fully versed on the issue. 

Should SB 590 be signed into law by Governor Scott, it would introduce into Chapter 409 a requirement that the DOR, and the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) handling these cases, encourage parents to enter into agreed timesharing plans. Notably, the proposed “Title IV-D Parenting Time Plan” would contain a presumptive minimum schedule for the parent paying child support. The presumptive minimum schedule is this: two weekend nights with the child(ren) every other week, along with other limited periods of time, though less than 20% of the child(ren)’s time in a typical year. These proposed “Parenting Time Plans” would be handed, or mailed, to parents by the DOR, a state agency whose very clear and limited mission is the collection of money. Also, these agreed-upon Parenting Time Plans would not be actual enforceable orders, but rather would be unenforceable by the ALJs, the DOR or any court.

Despite the Section’s consistent opposition to SB 590 in both bodies of the Florida Legislature, and despite our efforts to work with the Bill sponsors, this DOR Time Plan Bill was first approved by the Senate, and then later, in the final hours of session on Friday May 5th, by the House of Representatives. The enrolled version of SB 590 will soon be heading to Governor Scott for his consideration. We urge you to contact Governor Scott now, to voice your opposition to Senate Bill 590, and insist that he veto this bill. Governor Scott’s contact information is as follows:

Telephone: 850-488-7146
Email: Rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

 Thank you.

Laura Davis Smith

Chair, Family Law Section, 2016-2017

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