California family court judges are hesitant to involve the children in custody disputes between parents. The judge will not ask questions of the children unless they are old enough and have a desire to express their preferences. Typically, a child is considered mature enough to have a say in how custody is divided when they are 14 years or older, but younger children may be considered mature enough depending on their particular characteristics.
Usually, a child’s preferences for physical custody can be discussed with a child custody recommendation counselor (a mediator) rather than be determined through direct questioning by a judge. The counselor would interview the child and write a report with a recommendation to the judge based on all of the other information the counselor obtained by interviewing the parents.
Only in rare situations will a judge have the child express their preference. When this does occur, the judge may choose to have the child speak in their chambers with a court reporter, rather than speaking in open court, so that the child will feel less intimidated.
If you have further questions about what a judge will take into consideration during a child custody case, the Carlos Navarrete Law Firm is here to help. Our child custody and visitation lawyers will work with you to understand the facts of your situation and provide options to help you secure the parenting time you need with your child. Our Hanford, CA, child custody lawyers are never afraid to fight for your rights and your child’s best interest. We have extensive experience in both mediation and court.
To schedule a consultation, call us or contact us online.