DADs of Florida, Inc.
P. O. Box 550231
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33355-0231
(954) 493-9763 www.dadsofflorida.org
December 17, 2005
Dear Honorable State Senators, Representatives, and other elected officials:
Enclosed is proposed legislation relating to rotating parenting time. The proposed legislation amends F.S. 61.121 to ensure equal or near equal parenting time with both the child’s parents.
As a divorced father, and the current President of DADs of Florida, Inc., I am of the humble opinion that F.S. 61.121, as currently written, is ineffective in protecting children of divorce and is unsound public policy. The non-custodial parents’ access to their children is severely limited by the failure of the family courts to grant and enforce rotating parenting time.
According to the members of DADS of Florida, Inc., the failure to have fair and equal access to their children is one of the biggest issues they face in divorce.
DADs of Florida, Inc., has addressed the problem and is proposing a legislative solution sensitive to the children of divorce and their parents.
DADs of Florida, Inc., is actively seeking sponsorship of this legislation for the upcoming 2002 session. Please contact me, Tony Spalding at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being a sponsor of this important piece of legislation in either the Florida Senate or House.
I look forward to your comments and working with you and your staff.
Section 61.001(2)(a) of the Florida Statutes was enacted by our legislature for the express purpose of preserving meaningful family relationships; which is inclusive of the father-child relationship, Trial courts by not granting equal or near equal parenting time are not following the purpose of the divorce statute. The failure of Florida’s trial courts to grant equal or near equal tine to the fathers at the time of the entry of the final divorce decree creates “entertainment dads” rather than encouraging the development of a meaningful father-child relationship.
A disproportionate percentage of fathers are designated by the government (judiciary) as non-custodial parents. The courts refuse to acknowledge that a child suffers from the lack of significant time spent with their father. Traditionally children of divorce have been deprived of equal or near equal time with each parent.
Children who are being deprived of spending significant family-parenting time with their biological fathers (being raised without their biological fathers) account for 63 percent of youth suicides, 71 percent of pregnant teenagers, 90 percent of homeless and runaway children, 85 percent of behavioral disorders exhibited by children, and 71 percent of high school dropouts. These children who have had their biological fathers unjustly yanked from them, in comparison to other children, are: (1) five times more likely to live in poverty, (2) more likely to be abused, (3) more likely to bring weapons and drugs into the classroom, (4) commit crimes, and (5) abuse alcohol and drugs. (Source, U.S. House of Representatives, Concurrent Resolution 147, Spring Session 2001)
LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION TO PROBLEM:
Rotating Parenting Time Section 61.121, Florida Statutes, requires amending.
(a) It is presumed that rotating parenting time shall be the norm. Such periods of rotating time a child spends with each parent shall be on an equal or near equal basis as possible.
(b) To overcome the normal presumption in favor of rotating the child’s home, an opposing party has the burden of proof with clear and convincing evidence.
(c) When the trial court generates a decree granting rotating parenting time, or in the alternative, denies rotating parenting time, the trial court shall make specific record findings of fact and conclusions of law in the decree.
(d) When alienation of a parent is occurring, and is demonstrated with a preponderance of the evidence; a trial court shall rotate more parenting time for the child with the non-alienating parent.
President, Dads of Florida (503c)