Can Your Child Choose Where They Live?

Can Your Child Choose Where They Live?

Can Your Child Choose Where They Live?

When you are facing a custody determination, your child might have opinions about where they want to live. Will the court listen to your child? How much does their opinion matter?

The answer is that it depends on the situation. First, the court will always listen to the opinion of a 14-year-old child or older and take it into consideration. A younger child might be heard if the court believes they are of sufficient age and maturity to form and voice their opinion. However, just because a child chooses one parent’s home over the other does NOT mean the court will automatically go along with it.

Custody decisions involve many factors, all of which focus on the best interests of the child. In general, California law sets out that joint physical custody is preferred, as it is considered to be less stressful for children and encourages relationships with both parents.

If a child does not want to split time and chooses one parent they want to live with, the judge can consider it. However, the child’s reasoning is important. For instance, a judge will not weigh it heavily if a child wants to live with one parent because they do not impose a curfew or other rules. Also, a child may simply be emotional and angry at one parent, so they might tell the court they want to live with the other parent. This should also not be a factor in the overall custody decision.

Speak with a Murrieta Child Custody Lawyer

In conclusion, the court will hear a child’s opinion about physical custody in many cases, but that opinion will not necessarily be the deciding factor. It is important to have a Murrieta child custody lawyer representing you and your parental rights. Furubotten Law can help, so please contact us today.