Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in California?
If you are currently going through a divorce and you have children, then you will likely have concerns regarding child custody matters. The court will consider many different factors when determining child custody, and various factors will be weighed to determine the best custody situation for the child.
That being said, there are likely different opinions on what the best interests for a child are, and you might be wondering, “Can a child choose which parent to live with in California?”
Factors That Affect Child Custody Decisions
Perhaps you are worried that your child will feel pressured into living with the other parent, or you feel the relationship between your child and the other parent is stronger, which could prevent you from obtaining custody of your child.
Whatever your situation, you should know that a child’s choice is a consideration when the judge is deciding your case. That being said, it’s hardly the only consideration. The judge will look at many other factors, including the following:
- The relationship between each parent and the child in question
- The stability of each parent
- Mental health and physical abilities
- Each parent’s history with the child
- Any history of substance abuse or domestic violence
- Each parent’s ability to care, nurture, and provide for the child
- The child’s ties to the community
A Child’s Wishes
A child can always choose to address the court and be heard regarding which parent they would like to live with. At the age of 14, the child is typically expected to give a statement, as well. However, even younger children are permitted to state their preference, and their wishes can be documented even if the child doesn’t speak before the court.
Put simply, a child’s wishes are important in determining custody matters, especially with regards to older children. However, other factors are also taken into consideration.
Seek Help with Custody Matters from a California Child Custody Lawyer
Hopefully we’ve answered your question: Can a child choose which parent to live with in California? If you are worried about your child choosing the other parent, don’t despair. Your lawyer can help you obtain the best possible custody outcome for your case.