Will My Child Be Able to Choose Which Parent He or She Wants to Live With?
The age at which a child can pick which parent to live within Florida is determined by the youngster’s overall maturity. In contrast to other states, Florida does not have a specific age at which a court must consider a child’s preference. Rather, a court will decide whether or not:
The child is
- intelligent enough to make a decision,
- understands the decision he or she is making, and
- has sufficient experience with each parent to make a meaningful decision.
While Florida law does not specify a certain age at which a child’s preference must be considered, a judge in one case ruled that a 10-year-old is usually too young to make an informed decision.
The court, on the other hand, found an 11-year-desire old’s to be quite sophisticated and expressive in another case. In Florida, the age at which a dependent child can select which parent to live with is determined by the specific circumstances of your case.
Even though a judge may take a child’s stated preference into account, the court does not have to make a custody judgment only on the basis of the child’s preference; rather, the judge must examine it alongside all other relevant factors.
The court must also consider if the youngster is making an informed decision or is simply rebelling against his or her current custodial parent. The judge will also look at whether a parent is unfairly affecting the child’s ability to express an opinion; Florida judges are particularly sensitive to whether a parent is instructing a child to pick one parent over the other.
For each child, the judge will make an independent decision. For example, a judge cannot give the father custody of a kid who is too young to have an intelligent decision solely because the older siblings prefer to live with him.
In one Florida case, the youngster wanted to live with his father, and evidence proved that the mother neglected the son’s activities and frequently left him alone throughout the week. Despite this, the court was unable to transfer custody of the daughter to the father since the girl and her mother had a close bond and the girl desired to live with her mother.