Since custody cases primarily revolve around them, it makes sense to involve children in the process by asking them about their preferences or how they feel about certain parenting time arrangements.
In California, courts can consider a child’s preference, together with other primary factors, in custody determination, especially if they deem it relevant to furthering the child’s best interests given the circumstances.
This practice can positively impact custody cases in many ways.
Supports the child throughout the separation process
When their parents divorce, children go through an extremely tough time. Getting them involved in the process can help them cope with the separation. Letting them communicate their preference and opinion will make them feel heard. It is also an opportunity for parents to assure their children that no matter what the final custody and visitation plan is, they will continuously support the child’s growth and development.
Helps establish an appropriate custody plan
While there is no guarantee that a certain arrangement will work perfectly, considering a child’s preference as to who they want to live with and how much time they want to spend with each parent can help the court establish a custody and visitation plan that will cater to the child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Setting your expectations
While courts can consider a child’s preference during their determination, they will still review whether the child is mature enough to support their preference intelligently and reasonably. In California, courts generally presume that children 14 and older are sufficiently mature.
Aside from your child’s viewpoint, there are several factors leading to custody and visitation determination. Familiarizing yourself with these considerations can help set your expectations and prepare for you and your child’s future.