Can my child talk to the judge about their parental preference regarding custody in Florida?

child custody parents fighting over a child

When parents choose to undergo a divorce, they will have to face the typically contested issue of child custody. If parents cannot reach an agreement outside of court, a judge will have to evaluate several factors to determine a custody arrangement. When determining a child custody order, the main factor taken into account is what is in the child’s best interests. In Florida, the courts value the safety and overall well-being of a child. In most cases, the court will try to grant joint custody where both parents share custody of a child. This is because it is seen to be in a child’s best interest to have a relationship and be nurtured by both parents. However, in some cases, sole custody is granted to one parent if one parent’s actions pose a threat to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a child. There are several factors that the court takes into account when determining child custody. Many parents wonder whether their child can express to a judge their parental preference. Please continue following along to learn how a child’s parental preference can impact a custody decision and how a seasoned Pensacola Child Custody Lawyer can help you today. 

Does the court consider a child’s parental preferences when determining a child custody order in Florida?

In some states, the court does not consider a child’s parental preference or will only consider it when the child is a certain age. However, in Florida, depending on the child’s maturity, a judge can consider a child’s parental preference regarding custody. There is no particular age at which a child’s preference is weighed more heavily. It is based on whether the child is intelligent enough to make an independent decision, understands the decision they are making, and whether they’ve had enough parenting time with each parent so that the decision carries more precedent. Generally, when a young child voices their opinion on a custody arrangement, the judge will have to determine if the child is choosing one parent over the other because they have legitimate reasoning or because they are rebelling. In addition, the court will have to determine if the child has been coerced or manipulated by one parent to express a certain preference. Nevertheless, every case is unique and has different circumstances. A judge will take into account a child’s parental preferences, however, that doesn’t mean the court will carry out the child’s wishes. The court will grant a custody order they believe is in the child’s best interest.

If you are seeking sole or joint custody of your child, it is important to have the right legal representation. Child custody is a contested issue that typically turns into a bitter legal battle, which is why it is imperative to consult our determined and skilled team members. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf to ensure your child’s best interests are prioritized.