During the divorce or separation process, one of the matters the couple will have to deal with is child custody and visitation arrangements. This is usually a difficult subject because of the emotional toll it takes on everyone involved.
While most couples can reach an agreement on their own, it is not uncommon for a third party (usually the court) to intervene. And depending on the child’s age, one or both parents may want the input of the child on the parent they want to live with.
So at what age can a child choose the parent they want to live with in California?
It is important to understand that the court has the final say on what is in the best interest of the child as far as custody is concerned. That said, California law allows children to testify in court regarding the subject of custody and visitation. However, to duly address the court on the matter, the child in question must be at least 14 years old. While giving the testimony, the child will not be compelled to articulate their preference regarding custody and visitation. They can only do this if they wish to.
So how does a child’s preference affect custody?
Whether you are going through the divorce process or are already divorced and are considering custody modification, your child’s input will be considered if they wish to share it. However, it will be imperative to prove that the child has not been influenced to express their wishes. In other words, the child must be capable of making an independent opinion on the parent they would love to live with.
If you are divorcing, one of the biggest decisions you will need to make if you share a child is custody and visitation arrangement. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests while litigating the subject of child custody.