Whether divorcing California parents figure out child custody matters on their own or a judge decides, their children sometimes have different ideas. Depending on a child’s age and maturity level, he or she may have the opportunity to provide input about a living situation to the court.
If parents cannot reach a decision about child custody, a judge will consider several factors when assigning physical custody. A child’s wishes are only one of these factors, and the weight a child’s statement holds can vary. Courts want to make sure that a child or teen is staying with a responsible adult, and a judge may disregard a minor’s desires if it seems like the young person just wants to live with one parent because they are more lenient about rules.
When a child disagrees with a custody decision, he or she may be able to live with the other parent if both parents agree. This is easiest to accomplish when there is no court order. If a modification is needed, courts must often verify that no custodial interference has occurred. This takes place when a noncustodial parent tries to influence a child to stay with the noncustodial parent instead of the other parent. While it may depend on the circumstances, offering an incentive to convince a child to live with the noncustodial parent is frowned upon and may even break the law in some states.
One parent might have sole physical custody of a child, but parents could also share physical custody. This may be the best option if both parents want their children to live with them. Trying to form a custody arrangement without court intervention may be less costly and time consuming, and the parents may want to have the help of their respective lawyers when doing so.
Fields marked with an * are required