Can a child decide which parent to live with during or after a San Diego divorce? What happens if a child specifically asks to live with one of their parents?
Child Custody and parenting time are emotionally charged issues for many co-parents during and after a divorce. It isn’t possible to overstate the emotional impact of hearing a child say they don’t want to spend as much time in your household. Legally this is a very complicated situation.
Can a child decide which parent to live with or legally influence the existing parenting time schedule?
The primary interest of California law in these cases is “the best interest of the child.” One of the first issues is the age and maturity of the child in question. California Family Law does not give a minor the legal right to decide where they live. In many cases, unless the Court finds a substantial reason (such as criminal activity, drug or alcohol addiction and/or domestic violence) the Judge may believe it is still in the best interest of the child to continue spending quality time with both parents.
The Court may also be concerned about symptoms of parental alienation which occurs when one of the co-parents attempts to poison the relationship between the child(ren) and the other co-parent.
However, the Court will listen to the child’s point of view. The older the child, the greater the chances are the Court will consider their wishes in these complex cases. As a child ages and matures the Court will give more weight to their point of view and request. For example, the Court is much more likely to accept the perspective of a teenager than a nine year old. Each case is unique. If your child is requesting a change in custody orders you need the advice and counsel of the proven Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq.