Many parents who have undergone a divorce have listened to their children expressing their desire to reside with the non-custodial parent. Though this is usually said in the heat of the moment, one question that frequently arises in such cases is: can a child have a say in deciding custody arrangements, and if yes, when? In this month’s blog, we talk about when a child can choose custody, exploring the relevant legal frameworks and shedding light on the associated intricacies.
Who Decides Child Custody?
Parents are used to making decisions regarding what is best for their children. However, if an agreement on child custody cannot be reached by the parents prior to appearing in court or during mediation, the ultimate determination of child custody is entirely at the discretion of the judge handling their case. Therefore, the judge will decide who won the custody battle.
Related: learn more about tips that help you to win a custody battle here.
When Can a Child Have a Say?
According to Family Code 3042, the judge does not view it as harmful for a child that passes 14 to express their custody preference. But this doesn’t mean that the child’s custodial preferences decide where they live and with whom. It’s important to understand that the judge doesn’t have to follow the child’s preference as they make the decision based on what’s in the best interest of the child.
What if You Disagree with Your Child’s Preference?
You want what’s best for your child, but hearing that your child prefers to live with the other parent can be a heartbreaking moment. At the end of the day, custody is granted based on what the judge decides, but as your child age, circumstances may mean that these arrangements need to be altered.
Get The Best California Family Law Representation!
If you’re a parent going through a divorce and you have a custody battle to win, call on Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates. We have extensive experience in family law, and we’ll help you obtain the best possible custody outcome for your case. Call Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates now at (949) 951-9529 to discuss your case.