California Custody Rules
“While no law permits the child to choose their custody status, most California courts believe 12-14 years of age is old enough to express themselves and the reasons why they prefer one parent over the other. However, the courts also take into consideration that the teenage years are often challenging and a child may display bad behavior to cope with a divorce. Therefore, the court will listen but not assume everything the child said is black and white.”
In any case where the child is young, the court must be involved, Children express emotions that guide their actions. They can say they want to live with one parent for reasons that have to do with the parents, and little to do with the child. Examples would be:
- I don’t want to make my dad or mom cry.
- I don’t want dad or mom to be mad at me.
- When I visit my dad or mom, we go to fun places every day.
- Dad or mom lets me stay up past my bedtime.
As a child grows, their feelings about their parents may change as well. It is up to the court to determine the best interest of the child and make difficult decisions. In many cases, mediation offers parents an opportunity work together, even when they live in separate homes, to create a co-parenting agreement to raise their children.
Mediation allows the parents to form an agreement that takes the opinions and wants of the children into consideration, as well as the best interest of the whole family. Where a court might specify a 50/50 split, the parents and children can create a schedule that makes sense with school, work, sports and even time with family pets. C4 offers professional and affordable mediation services. Call us today for a free consultation!