Custody Lawyer Questions | Can Children Choose a Preferred Parent?

While a child can express a parental preference during custody negotiations, the court decides whether their choice is appropriate to the situation. Your Hernando County, FL custody lawyer can provide essential advice that will assist in making this important decision.

In Florida, the child’s choice of who to live with depends on their maturity level, not age. Although the court will account for the child’s wishes, there are several factors that a judge must consider before making a final decision, including whether a child:

  • Has the intelligence to make an informed choice
  • Understands the decision
  • Has enough experience with each parent to make a meaningful decision

Rebellion or Reason?

Understandably, a child might request to live with one parent over another because of the emotional stress surrounding divorce. A judge must determine whether the choice to stay with one parent over another is a reasonable request or if they are rebelling to make a point. The court is also tasked with assessing whether a parent is creating a bias to influence the child.

In a perfect world, families would stay together forever, but the reality is that kids are often caught in a tug of war. Although children can choose which parent they prefer, a custody lawyer is your best advocate in negotiating a fair resolution for everyone.