There are a lot of considerations that need to be made when California parents go through divorce. Many of those considerations concern their shared children and how those children will be raised after the parents’ relationship ends. The parents may discuss many topics related to the kids’ best interests with their attorneys and each other to devise custody plans that suit the needs of their children.
However, it is sometimes the case that a set of important voices are excluded from child custody conversations: those of the kids. In California, children may participate in family law matters such as child custody, but no child may be mandated to do so. A child’s participation in custody matters must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Should a child participate in their custody decisions?
All children are different. They mature differently and have different experiences through their lives. Because of this, it is impossible to state that all kids of a certain age should or should not be involved in family law matters. It is up to the judge in the case to determine if it is in the best interests of the child to be involved in their proceedings.
There are certain factors courts can look for to decide how or if a child should participate in their own family law proceedings:
- The age of the child
- The ability of the child to form an intelligent preference about their custody
- The capacity of the child to understand testifying in court
Getting help with custody matters
It can be difficult for a parent to consider the outcomes of child custody matters. It can also be difficult for a parent to imagine their child voicing their own opinions on how custody will impact their life. As every child custody case is different, it is imperative that parents seek counsel on their specific family law needs.