Can Children Make Custody Decisions?

Child Custody Law in Los AngelesIn child custody disputes, the court usually awards legal rights to a parent who is deemed suitable and capable of caring for the child. This is because younger ones may not be equipped to deal with the stress related to child custody fights. There are some cases, however, that the court may consider the child’s preference for one parent over the other.

Allow a Child to Decide

The court may allow children to make custody decisions when they are of the certain age, though this may vary by jurisdictions. Their wishes may also be considered if they are capable of making informed decisions or if there is a statute in place that allows them to make decisions.

Under Special Circumstances

Los Angeles lawyers who handle child custody cases say this arrangement is only valid under special circumstances, like if one parent is unfit for guardianship. The court may also fulfill the children’s preferences when they get older, in which they will need to take legal action in modifying the existing child custody order.

Disregard Child’s Preference

The court, however, may also disregard the preference of a child or children if they are not old enough to make important and legal decisions. This is also the case if they have a medical or psychiatric illness that affects their ability to make decisions. The court will then consider other factors when deciding child custody.

Best Interest of the Child

In any child custody hearing, the court will always make decisions based on the best interest of the child. These decisions are for the benefit of the child in terms of physical, emotional, mental, social, and educational upbringing. The  parent’s desires and wishes may also be disregarded if they don’t support the best interest of the child.

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Child custody hearings usually require the assistance of an experienced child custody attorney. If you have questions regarding child custody or if you need legal representation, hire a family lawyer. This will help you prepare for the battle and keep you updated with the changes in child custody laws.