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Lane
Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Finance
Satisfied Customers: 10814
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
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Does the law in Florida family law courts view overnight

Customer Question

Does the law in Florida family law courts view overnight visits with the other parent as a right of the child or the right of the other parent? Seems like it could be a bit of both but when does the court listen to what the child wants if the child does not want to stay overnight with one parent?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Finance
Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

Florida is a little against the grain on this one, in that unlike other states, there is no particular age when courts must consider a child’s preference regarding which parent should have custody, or time spent, in the parenting plan

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Statute law in Florida (case law on this is unsettled in Florida) gives the judge the discretion to decide whether the child is intelligent enough to make a choice, whether the child understands the decision he or she is making, and whether the child has enough experience with each parent so that the child's preference relates to what is actually in the child's best interest.

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Even though child’s preference must be considered once the judge has said child's has ABILITY, in one case, the judge stated that a 10-year old is normally too young to make an intelligent decision. But, in another case, the court took into account the preference of an 11-year old that the judge found to be 'intelligent and articulate."

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And of course, even though a judge may consider a child’s stated preference, the court doesn’t have to base a custody decision solely on the child’s opinion; the judge simply needs to consider it along with all the laundry list of other factors that are relevant to custody.

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I can provide that for you if you like ... or you may already know this

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The court also must determine whether the child is making an intelligent decision or if the child is just rebelling against the current custodial parent. The judge will also investigate whether a parent is unfairly influencing the child to express an opinion; Florida judges are sensitive to whether a parent is coaching a child to choose him or her over the other.

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And finally, because of the factors above, the judge will make the decision for each child, independently.

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Hope this helps

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Lane

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Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

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I’m just checking back in to see how things are going.

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Did my answer help?

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Let me know…

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Thanks

Lane