At What Age Does a Child Have a Say in Visitation?
If you’re involved in visitation proceedings (referred to as “time-sharing” in Florida), you may be wondering whether your child will have any say in the matter. The rules on this vary from state to state, but in Florida, there’s no set age at which a child’s opinion has to be taken into account. Instead, a judge has the discretion to consider a child’s preference if he or she feels that the child is sufficiently mature.
The judge might consider various factors when making this determination, such as whether the child understands the choice that he or she is making. The judge also needs to assess whether the child is being coached by one parent, and whether the child is simply rebelling against the parent who currently has custody (for example, saying that he or she wants to live with dad because mom imposes a curfew).
Notably, even when a judge does decide to consider a child’s preference, he or she can still rule against the child’s wishes if the rest of the evidence supports a different result. The judge has to apply the “best interests of the child” standard, and the child’s opinion will be one of many factors taken into account.
Trustworthy Family Law Attorneys Serving the Greater Tampa Bay Area
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Audrey A. Jefferis, P.A., are pleased to offer assistance to clients navigating the often-complicated time-sharing process. We have offices in New Port Richey and Palm Harbor, and we represent clients across Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Hernando Counties. Contact us today to request a consultation.