How old can a child be before he can choose which parent to live with?

September 16, 2011 by The ME Law Firm

When parents are going through a divorce or have already been divorced, they continue to fight over spending more time with their children.  At some point, the question normally arises to when can a child choose which parent to live with.  This is not a simple question to answer.  A child’s preference of which parent to co-habitat with is but one factor in the process.

The standard in Florida to determine which parent the child should live with is “the best interest of the child”.  This is a very general determination that weighs many factors, one of which may be the preference of the child. Many clients or prospective clients are looking for a magic number of when a child can choose, but this is left up to the determination of the Judge.

The Judge, or Court, will use its best discretion to determine if the will of the child we be admissible and whether it will have any bearing on the situation.  This can be helped by using a competent attorney that practices in the area of family law.  Although this is the case, the older and more mature the child is the more likely their preference will be taken into consideration.

A common misconception in Florida is that upon the age of 12 a child can choose which parent they will live with.  The preference may be persuasive, but it is not the only factor.  If you are going to seek this route having a dentist, doctor, day care workers, teachers can testify can be very helpful.

If you already have a time sharing arrangement that has been approved by the Courts, it can be amended if there has been a change in circumstances.  This can affect child support or other factors.

It is important that when you find yourself dealing with a family law situation that includes your children, to always seek the opinion of a competent attorney.  At Myers & Eichelberger, we are committed to providing our clients with legal services that includes answering all their questions.  Call us today at 1-888-ME-HELP-YOU for a free consultation.

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