Do Children Have a Say in Where They Live After Divorce in Florida?

Divorce can be especially challenging for children. One of the most common questions that parents have during a divorce is whether their children can choose where they want to live. In Florida, the answer is not straightforward. Here's what you need to know.

Understanding Florida's Custody Laws

Florida has two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child's upbringing. In most cases, both parents share legal custody, but one parent may have primary physical custody. Florida courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child, taking into account factors like the child's relationship with each parent, the parent's ability to provide for the child, and the child's preferences.

When Can a Child Choose Where to Live?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific age at which a child can choose where to live in Florida. Instead, the court will consider the child's maturity, intelligence, and understanding of the situation. The court may also consider the child's reasons for wanting to live with one parent over the other. However, the child's preference is just one factor that the court will consider, and it is not determinative.

How to Help Your Child Through the Process

Divorce can be emotionally challenging for children, and it's important to provide them with support during this time. Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns, and listen to them without judgment. Reassure them that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault. If your child is old enough to have a say in the custody decision, help them understand the process and what to expect.

Working with a Family Law Attorney

Navigating the complexities of custody and divorce can be overwhelming, especially when children are involved. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your child's best interests are protected. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, negotiate with your ex-spouse, and represent you in court if necessary.

While children do not have an absolute right to choose where they want to live after a divorce in Florida, their preferences can be a factor in the court's decision.

If you're going through a divorce and have questions about custody, contact Gladstone, Weissman, Hirschberg & Schneider, P.A. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate this difficult time and protect your child's best interests.

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