It may surprise you to learn a child can give input on custody and visitation cases in San Diego in some situations. Does it matter if a child wants to choose which parent they wish to live with? What is the process for seeking the input of a child and how old does the child need to be before the Court will listen?
Recent changes to California Family Law (section 3042) increase the likelihood that a child can give input on custody and visitation cases in San Diego. The Court is very serious about protecting the best interests of the child and this applies to the process for “examination of a child witness.” If a child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the Court regarding custody or visitation that child will be able to do so as long as it remains in the child’s best interests. The Court must listen to their testimony as they weigh what is in the child’s best interests. The new law goes on to establish that those under the age of 14 may also address the Court if the Judge determines it is in that child’s best interests to do so.
It is important to note that our Judges have strong discernment and will get to the bottom of the child’s intentions and whether they are based on sound reasons or if there is a negative influence on their expressed wishes such as pressure by one of the parents or even issues associated with parental alienation. It is absolutely proper for a child to disclose abusive treatment, neglect, lack of care or other reasons for preferring one parent over another. In other cases there may simply be a much stronger bond with one parent, and these can change as a child ages and matures.
A child can give input on custody and visitation cases in San Diego but it is the responsibility of the Court and our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists to protect them and act in their best interests. The Court has broad discretion over the location and nature of their testimony.
Are you searching for an experienced San Diego divorce or child custody and visitation attorney? We invite you to review the strong recommendations of former clients and the legal industry, protect your interests and contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment for a safe, confidential and private consultation with one of our experienced and proven Certified Family Law Specialists.