Does A Child’s Preference Influence Custody/Visitation Arrangements?

Pleasanton CA divorce attorneyWhen divorce is on the table, one of the biggest issues that arises is the need to sort out child custody arrangements, especially in situations where the involved children are still very young. Where will the children live? Will custody be split evenly, or will one parent be designated as the primary caretaker? What about the child’s preference, do they get to weigh in on their living and moving arrangements?

Generally speaking, California family code sets out to award custody to both parents equally, provided they are both fit to care for their child. In cases where the courts favor one parent over another, they still strive to find an arrangement that allows both parents to continue being a part of their child’s life. After all, the law was written to try and ensure that both parents are able to have a continued relationship with their children regardless of circumstances or living arrangements.

How A Child’s Preference Can Become Part of the Equation

All that being said, the law does account for a child’s preference when it comes to custody matters, something that is outlined in Section 3042. This section of the law states that a child’s preference in regards to custody or visitation is to be considered and given due weight, provided that the child is of “sufficient age and capacity to reason as to form an intelligent preference.”

In cases where the child is 14 years of age or older, he/she must be allowed to address the court in these matters if he/she wishes to do so. The court can deny them this opportunity if it is determined that such an action would work against the child’s best interests.

Contact A Family Law Attorney Today

In any case, those who are dealing with any type of child custody or visitation issues in California should not proceed without the assistance of a skilled family attorney, someone who can help navigate you through every step of your case. If you need more information, and to speak to a qualified family law attorney, know that we at the Law Office of James P. White are here to help.