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Child Custody: When the Child is 14, Can They Elect to Decide to See a Parent?

By April 14, 2023Child Custody

In California, there is no specific age at which a child can choose whether or not to see a parent. However, a child’s preference for visitation can be taken into consideration by a judge in a custody case, especially if the child is older and mature enough to express a reasoned preference.

California Family Code Section 3042 provides that a child who is at least 14 years old can be allowed to express their timeshare preferences to the court regarding custody or visitation if they wish to do so. It should note that for the child’s mental health and well-being, the court always tries to avoid avoid having the child directly engage in any custody or parenting proceedings but typically seeks to get the child’s preference delivered to the court through family court services, therapists, or counselors to aid the judge in making a determination on the child’s timeshare and placement. A child’s preference will not automatically be granted. The judge will still consider all relevant factors, including the child’s preference, but ultimately make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

It’s important to note that the child’s preference is just one factor among many that the court will consider. The court will also consider the child’s relationship with each parent, their age and maturity, their physical and emotional needs, and any other relevant factors. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child.

Arlene D. Kock

Author Arlene D. Kock

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