When can a child choose which parent to live with?


In Florida, there is no law determining when can a child can choose which parent to live with as part of a divorce proceeding.


Daniel: I was wondering what is Florida's legal age for a child to choose if he wanted to live with his mom or dad?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Daniel, Michelle Berry is a divorce attorney that we refer people to and this is what I can tell you. There is nothing within the Florida Statutes or case law that answers that question for us. Therefore, it means it is up to the particular judge to decide when a child can testify who that child wants to live with mom or dad. Some judges say, "We will never do it." Some judges will say, "When they're aged 13 or higher." Some judges will say, "I will interview the child and let the child speak to me."

Probably more realistic answer Daniel, is that in a bitter divorce, if the parents really can't agree on what to do with the kids, then the court is going to appoint a guardian ad litem, an independent attorney whose job is to represent the children, not mom, not dad, but the children. That guardian ad litem will have some private conversations with the children and try to assess from them what the children most want to do. That's not going to be exactly what they want to have happen, but at least listen to the children and what they'd like to have happen. Good call Daniel, thank you.