When Can A Child Refuse To See Their Parent In Florida?
Dealing with custody-related issues is one of the most complex aspects of a divorce in Florida. This process can also be incredibly distressing for parents who want to spend as much time with their children as possible following a separation. But what happens if the child doesn’t feel the same way? What if a child refuses to see their parent – even though the custody arrangement clearly states that this parent should share considerable parenting time with their former spouse?
This situation can be difficult to deal with – especially if you’re not very clear on the various legal issues. This is why it’s almost always a good idea to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced family law attorney for matters related to custody and parenting time. These legal professionals can examine your unique situation and recommend the best course of action. In some cases, they may be able to help you modify your parenting agreement so that you can spend more time with your children.
A Child’s Best Interests
The first thing you need to know about child custody is that all decisions are based around the child’s best interests. In other words, your own personal preferences and desires have absolutely no impact on the family court’s decisions. Their goal is to help the child, not you. So if a child expresses a preference to live mostly with one parent while completely excommunicating the other parent, the court will try to determine whether this course of action actually benefits the child. Normally, courts are of the opinion that both parents should play at least a peripheral role in the child’s life for their psychological well-being.
Florida is Unique
Many other states will listen to a child’s preference when they reach a certain age. Florida is unique because there is no set age at which preferences are considered. Instead, the state considers the mental maturity of the child. Normally, children aged 10 or younger are not considered mentally mature enough to express a preference. However, the preferences of children as young as 11 may be considered as long as the child is eloquent and logical enough.
Respecting the Custody Agreement is Important
Above all else, it is very important to respect the custody agreement. You can’t keep your child away from your former spouse just because your child doesn’t want to see them. Until the parenting agreement has been formally modified in court, you have to adhere to it. Failing to do so will result in legal consequences.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
For help with your case, contact Orlando divorce lawyer Steve Marsee, P.A. Over the years, we have helped numerous parents deal with situations like these in a confident, efficient manner. We know how important it is for you to spend time with your children, and we’ll help you approach your parenting agreement so that the entire family benefits as much as possible. Book your consultation today and explore your legal options.