California couples must resolve a high-stress issue when divorcing: child custody and visitation. Agreeing before a judge decides is better for your family, but what happens when a child wants to voice an opinion?
Under the laws, a child deemed capable of deciding custody may have a say. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a child’s choice, a judge may allow the custody designation he or she wants. Take a look at what may facilitate your child’s right to choose one parent over the other during a divorce and custody proceeding.
How does the law view child custody?
Under family law common practice, a judge must openly consider every option that is in the child’s best interests. When it comes to custody, judges often prefer that parents share in both the legal decision-making and physical care of children. Some reasons, such as abuse or criminal history, may preclude joint legal or physical custody.
What does a judge consider?
A child who is at least 14 years old and considered competent may express an opinion as to who to live with. If a divorce and custody case is particularly contentious, a judge may take the child’s wishes into consideration. Judges may order a psychological exam to ensure that a child is not under the influence of the parenting with whom he or she wishes to reside with.
The preferred way to handle a difficult split is to put your children first. This means compromising to come to a reasonable conclusion before things escalate and putting kids in a position to choose sides.