Florida Family Law FAQs

At what age can a child refuse to see a parent?

December 15, 2023 in Child Custody and Time-Sharing, Divorce, Paternity Actions

There is no specific age at which a child can legally refuse to see a parent. Child custody and visitation matters are governed by what is in the best interests of the child, and courts are generally reluctant to allow a child to unilaterally make decisions about visitation until they are 18, which is the age of majority.

However, courts may consider the child’s preferences as one of many factors in determining custody and visitation arrangements, especially as the child gets older and demonstrates maturity. The weight given to a child’s preference can vary depending on the child’s age, intelligence, understanding, and reasoning behind their preference. It’s important to note that a child’s preference, no matter their age, is just one aspect the court will consider and is not typically the deciding factor.

If a child expresses a strong desire not to visit one parent, the court will likely investigate the reasons behind this preference. This may involve looking into potential issues like parental alienation or abuse. Ultimately, any decision to alter a visitation schedule or custody arrangement is up to the court, and it will always prioritize what it deems to be in the best interests of the child.

Understanding when a child can influence visitation decisions can be complex and varies with each case. If you’re dealing with a situation where your child is reluctant to visit the other parent and need professional advice, please reach out to us. Contact Shemtov Hillstrom at (954) 329-2222 for a comprehensive consultation with our skilled trial attorneys. We can help you navigate these sensitive issues, considering your child’s preferences and the legal framework, to ensure their best interests are upheld under Florida law.

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