Child Input in Custody and Visitation Cases

Getting the Child’s Input in Custody and Visitation Cases

A divorce impacts the entire family, especially child custody and visitation rights. The divorce process is so very adult.  Parents and their attorneys, all well dressed in suits, meet in wood paneled courtrooms with all the formalities that come with appearing before a judge.  Even a suit isn’t formal enough for a judge, he or she needs to wear a robe. Should the child’s opinion play a role in such a process? How would a child fit into this proceeding?

Under California law, child who is at least 14 years old must be allowed to directly address the court regarding custody and visitation, unless judge finds that it would not be in child’s best interests (if so. the reasons must be stated on the record). Children younger than 14 aren’t prevented from addressing the Court on these issues, if that’s deemed appropriate and consistent with the best interest of the child.  If barred from testifying, children must be given another way to voice their opinion, such as through a mediator or a psychologist.

There are pro’s and cons to getting input from a child.  This can put the child in a very difficult spot, especially if the parents not only are getting divorced, but one or both plan on moving away. If the child is mature, articulate and not too stressed out, given the serious impact on the child’s life, hearing from the child is a good idea.  If the parents are manipulative and the child is more interested in living with the parent who enforces the least rules, this can be a bad idea.

This is a very sensitive area where we tread with much care so we, and our clients, do not appear to ask a child to take sides in what can be a very emotional dispute. If the child’s opinion is for our client, all the better, but the judge is the ultimate decision maker on how the child voices his or her opinion, how much weight that opinion should be given and on the custody and visitation issues in general.

If you have any questions about visitation or custody issues, contact our office.



Move Away With Children / Relocation

Move Away With Children / Relocation

Carlsbad California and Move Away and Relocation Child Custody Attorneys

A common issue facing California parents and courts is the question of a parent’s right to move away, even out of the State of California and take the children with them. The issue has gone back and forth over the past decade between the courts and the State Legislature. Interpretations of recent rulings might lead some parents to believe if they have custody they have the right to move away. This is usually not the case. The court will want to hear the underlying issues, and will have an interest in what is in the best interests of the child or children involved. A moving truck operated by Piedmont Moving Sys... Today, many divorces in California are filed by the parties themselves and the terms of their child custody and parenting time agreements may or may not address this sensitive issue. This is one of the many reasons to consult with an attorney prior to filing your own paperwork in a child custody or divorce case in California. If you believe your former spouse is considering relocation and will be taking your child or children with them it is important to act immediately to protect your parental interests and the needs of the children.

Contact Experienced Carlsbad and North County San Diego Child Custody and Relocation Attorneys

At the Law Offices of Fischer and Van Thiel, LLP we work to protect our client’s interests and parenting rights. If you are considering relocating with your child it is important to ensure that you have the legal right to do so. If you are the parent remaining in California and you want to preserve and protect your ability to see and raise your children, there is a lot that can be done to protect your rights as a parent and relationship with your children. We are sensitive to the issues on both sides of this controversial subject, and work to help our clients accomplish their parenting goals. Contact us today at 760-453-0732 or contact us to schedule a confidential and free consultation with an experienced Carlsbad area child custody lawyer.

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