Beginning 1/1/12, California AB 1050 states that a judge must also consider a child's wishes regarding visitation. A child who is at least 14 years old must be allowed to directly address the court regarding custody and visitation, unless a judge finds that it would not be in child's best interests, in which case the reasons must be stated on record.
This section specifically does not prevent younger children from addressing the Court on these issues if appropriate and consistent with the best interest of the child. Sufficient age and capacity of the child will be taken into account. Currently, Family Code §3042 permits the Judge to provide alternate method for learning about child's preferences if it precludes calling him or her as witness; as amended, §3042(e) now requires the provision of such an alternative.
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Mr. Aguilar is correct. At 14 years old a child's wishes can be considered. But, it is used as input and not more.
Maryam Atighechi is a family law, real estate and civil litigation attorney in Sherman Oaks, CA. 818-647-1152. Please be advised that although Ms. Atighechi is an attorney, the comments posted does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on any advice or suggestions written and seek outside, independent counsel. An attorney-client relationship has not formed by reading the post.
I agree with counsel – that at age 14 the court must consider the child’s preference. However, if the child shows signs of maturity at age 13, and there is evidence showing the child’s stated preference is in the best interests of the child, the court may hear and consider the child’s stated preference. There is no law that requires the court to enter an order for child’s stated preference. If you have found this helpful and/or the best answer, please let the attorney know by checking the appropriate box below. It will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and best of luck to you
Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
This comes up a lot and it is only a factor. I have cases where the child requested to be with the other parent and we went to trial and the court went against the child's preference and vice versa. Although it carries a lot of wait, it won't be the only factor.
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