Childs Choice for Florida Custody

by Anonymous from Florida

My 14 year old daughter wants to come live with me and her mother refuses to let her by guilting her.

She tells her if she goes to live with me she will lose her house and is this what she wants, her mom to lose her house.

We share 60/40 with her mother primary at this time, can we change this with my daughters voice?

Her mother does nothing for her and leaves her alone all the time at night to go out.

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Anonymous,

Generally, Florida courts will consider the wishes of children over age 12. According to the Child Visitation Guidelines for Brevard County:

Neither parent shall involve children in decisions regarding visitation unless the children are twelve (12) years old or older.

All visitation plans and conversations shall be conducted solely between the parents until the children are at least twelve (12) years of age.

The final decisions are to be made by the parents and not the children.

One alternative is to petition the court for a change in custody. Custody changes are based on substantial change in circumstances and in the best interests of the child.

The Florida Supreme Court approved form, which can be found on the Florida Supreme Court's website is: Form 12.905(a), Supplemental Petition to Modify Custody or Visitation and Other Relief form. The instructions to that form state in part:

Child Custody... If you and the respondent are unable to agree about with whom the child(ren) will live most of the time, a judge will decide for you. The judge will decide the parenting arrangements based on the child(ren)’s best interests.

Regardless of whether there is an agreement, the court reserves jurisdiction to modify issues relating to the minor child(ren).

Have a look at our web-powered instructions page for the Supplemental Petition to Modify Custody form.

A better alternative might be for you and your former wife to come to an agreement about where your daughter lives, rather than letting the judge decide.

From your question it sounds as though your former wife's reservations about agreeing to your daughter moving in with you, are, at least in part, economic.

Addressing the underlying economic issue, might lead you to come to an agreement that is in the best interests of your daughter, and would also work for you and your former wife. A court battle between you and your former wife would likely upset your daughter.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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