• September 19th, 2023

When is a Child’s Preference Considered by the Court?

In Florida, unlike some other states that specify a particular age (e.g., 14) at which a child’s preference regarding which parent they want to live with is considered by the court, there is no set age. Instead, the decision is left to the judge’s discretion. However, many judges in Florida tend to take a child’s preference into account around the age of 12 or 13, among other factors. The judge considers factors such as the child’s intelligence, maturity, experiences with each parent, and their understanding of the decision being made. It’s important to recognize that children vary in their maturity levels, and some may demonstrate a capacity for making important decisions at a younger age. In rare cases, an unusually articulate and intelligent 11-year-old may be given consideration by the judge. Furthermore, the judge evaluates whether the child’s choice to live with a particular parent is genuine or if it stems from rebellion against the custodial parent. The court also assesses whether one parent is attempting to unduly influence the child’s opinion. Ultimately, the judge weighs all these factors, including the child’s preference, when making a decision about custody or visitation arrangements. However, the child’s preference is typically not the sole determining factor in the judge’s decision.

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