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When your kid wants to reverse custody

Parents in Florida naturally make sure they protect their rights and their child's best interests when working out a custody agreement and time sharing schedule. While children are young, there may not be any problem adhering to the plan, but what happens when a child starts to complain about wanting to be with friends more than wanting to be with mom or dad?

This blog post will discuss whether a minor-aged child in Florida has the right to petition the court for a change to the parent's custody or parenting plan.

Will the child's concerns be heard when determining custody?

For young children, a Florida family law judge will likely listen only to the arguments of the parents and child support services when making a decision regarding custody and time sharing. But in cases when the child is old enough to speak for him or herself, the judge may also listen.

Florida has no laws regarding a set age at which a judge must take the minor's preferences into consideration. When deciding, the judge must take into account factors such as the childs capacity to understand the decision and the interaction with each parent. While other states typically consider 14 "the age of reason" in such matters, there have been cases in Florida where the child has been as young as 10, although that is unique. 

Can a child fight to reverse custody?

When a child turns 11 or 12 years old, he or she may have reasons to petition the court to reverse custody. While the courts will always ensure that the welfare and best interests of a minor-aged child are paramount, there have been cases when a court will take the child's appeal into consideration. Ultimately, someone over the age of 18 must bring the lawsuit on behalf of the child, which can be a sympathetic grandparent, either of the parents or a Guardian ad litem. 

If custody is reversed, the parents will be required to work out new agreement regarding time sharing and child support.

If you are facing issues regarding your original custody or time sharing plan, don't try to work out an informal agreement with the other party. Courts will not recognize it if problems arise. Talk to an experienced family law attorney with experience handling complex custody matters.     

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