What if your child wants to change parents in a child custody case during or after a divorce in Carlsbad or San Diego? Divorce itself is filled with enough challenges and emotional issues. Things can become even more challenging if one of your children tells you they want to make a change to their primary residence. This is a crucial conversation which must be managed openly and carefully, regardless of whether the child wishes to go with the other parent or come to live in your own household.
California law gives primary weight in these conversations to the best interest of the child. The Court will actively listen to the expressed interests of a child, especially as they approach and enter their teen years.
As parents, we understand that any such discussion with your child is going to make you feel like your stomach is in your throat and increase your heart rate. However, your approach to the child should be open, calm and genuinely inquisitive. It is appropriate to set boundaries for any conversation when your child wants to change parents in a child custody case. It is not appropriate for your child to speak to you in a harsh or rude manner. Let them know you absolutely want to hear what they have to share and are open to a calm, respectful conversation.
Remember, the Court maintains control over child custody during and after your divorce. It is never in your interests to make negative comments about the other parent. If you are at odds with your former spouse or are simply finding it challenging to take in and deal with your child’s point of view consider seeking the support and guidance of a professional counselor or mediator. The Judge in your case will carefully consider all communications and if you appear defensive or angry with your child it will get back to the Judge and work against your own self interests.
If your child wants to change parents in a child custody case the Court may or may not agree with the child’s perspective. Your job is not to decide or influence the child’s perspective. This can appear manipulative and may even lead to accusations of parental alienation. It could also adversely affect your own child custody and parenting time allocations.
Whenever possible it is best to share this conversation between both parents. Co-parenting should be a team effort in the Court’s eyes as it is definitely in the best interests of the child. Any change to your parenting time or child custody should be presented to the Court for approval. In some cases you may need to appear before the Judge to present your case.
This is why it is so important to work with the experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq. We provide sound counsel and advice in complicated situations such as this, informed by decades of experience in North County and San Diego Family Court.