Considering the Child’s Preference in California Child Custody Cases
When a couple gets married, they don’t expect it to end in divorce, but for many, divorce becomes an eventual reality. Divorce can be hard for everyone involved, especially when there are children involved. Both parents contribute to the child’s well-being, but one parent may be the primary caregiver while the other parent is the chief financial provider. Both the caregiver and the financial provider are essential in raising a happy, healthy family. But how does the California court respond when the child in the case has a preference regarding custody?
A child might prefer the idea of living with one parent or the other after a divorce. Some insist the child’s preference should be considered. Others insist that it’s not right for a child to be included in such a painful, ugly process. Divorce cases tend to be emotional, especially for children. Should it be acceptable to expose the child to the anger and potentially cruel behavior of their parents during a child custody case?
In Orange County, California, there are numerous laws designed to protect children during divorce. The court’s overarching goal for the child to receive financial support from each of their parents. They also typically award joint custody unless it is not an option in the situation. Both the parents and the court are responsible for determining what is in the child’s best interest and ensuring the child receives appropriate support in a safe, stable environment post-divorce. Children love their parents and generally want to make them happy, which is extremely difficult in the middle of a messy divorce. Forcing children to pick sides usually only causes more guilt and stress that is unnecessary. California laws are designed to get the necessary information to determine child custody without causing harm to the children involved.
While there is no official age at which a child can choose their own custody status, most California courts will consider the opinions of children 14 years old or older. While the court will listen to the child’s preference and their reasons for preferring one parent over the other, they also consider other factors and does not assume that everything the child says is the absolute truth. In some cases, children display bad behavior to cope with divorce, and the court is aware of this fact.
If you are facing an Orange County, California child custody case and you need the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney, get in touch with The Maggio Law Firm.
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