Can My Children Choose Which Parent to Live With?

When parents of a child are not living with one another, they will have to come up with a parenting schedule that provides the child significant time with each parent. Parents must determine what works with their schedules and what is in the best interests of the child when developing this plan. If parents cannot determine an acceptable parenting schedule, the courts will determine what will best suit the child and order the parents to submit to this plan.

How does the court decide on a time-sharing plan?

A parenting plan is a document that outlines how parents will spend time with the child as they live apart from one another.

Some considerations that will be considered in this plan include:

  • Time-sharing schedule
  • Holiday time-sharing schedule
  • Extracurricular activity time
  • Education
  • Child-care
  • Contact between both parents
  • Travel agreements

Regardless of how the parents or the court decide to split time with the child, the child's opinion will play a role in the final time-sharing decision when they are of a certain age. Under Florida law, if the child possesses enough intelligence, understanding, and experience to be able to say what they would prefer, the court will give reasonable preference to their wishes. Unless the court feels that living with the chosen parent will not provide the best environment for the child, they can defer to the child's preference.

Courts are primarily concerned with making the best decision for the child. Since children are not legally eligible to make this choice, the court cannot allow the child to make these decisions on their own. Even if a child decides they should be able to make a decision as to where they live, the court and the parents who have the best indication of the child's needs will be the final authority.

Are you worried about your time sharing agreement? You have rights as a parent!Call Charles E. Willmott, Attorney at Law for a free case evaluation to discuss these rights.


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