In any child custody case, talk to a young child about which parent they would prefer to live with and you might hear something like “I want to live with dad because he lets me eat ice cream” or “I want to live with mom because she buys me cool clothes”. While a cool t-shirt or a bowl of ice cream may not impact the perspective of every child, a child’s current frame of mind and understanding is something that needs to be taken seriously when deciding which parent gains child custody in a divorce.
So the question is, in child custody can a child decide where to live? The most plain and simple answer is no. Currently, in California law, a child’s wishes for custodial parent is up to the judge’s discretion and there is no specific age where the court will consider the wishes of a child in deciding custody.
However, the law does state that a judge must consider a child’s wishes regarding visitation and further states that a child who is at least 14 years old must be allowed to directly address the court regarding custody and visitation, unless the judge finds that it would not be in child’s best interests.
For more on child custody you can visit Brett Thorsteinson’s child custody pages here. Child custody and visitation are some of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Divorcing spouses must never use children against one another. Under California law, the health, well-being and safety of the children are top priority.
Contact Brett Thorsteinson and speak directly with an experience divorce and family law attorney who will protect your interests. Brett is your trusted divorce lawyer who can help you with child custody and all family law matters. Offices are located in Long Beach and Huntington Beach with free initial consultations.