Fontana, CA asked in Child Custody, Divorce and Family Law for California

Q: Can a 13-year-old girl choose for her father to have full custody?

mom does not abuse and is a stay-at-home mom ( in California)

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, a child's preference is one factor that the court may consider when making custody decisions, but it is not the only factor. The court will make custody decisions based on what it determines to be in the best interests of the child. The child's preference may carry more weight if the child is older and mature enough to understand the situation, but it is not determinative. The court will consider a range of factors, including the parents' abilities to care for the child, the child's relationship with each parent, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse. Ultimately, the court will make a custody decision based on what it believes will be in the child's best interests.

In California, the relevant statute regarding child custody and the child's preference is Family Code Section 3042. This statute states that if a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason, and able to express a preference, the court may consider and give significant weight to the child's preference in determining custody or visitation. However, the court is not bound by the child's preference and must still consider all relevant factors in making a custody determination. The statute does not specify an age at which a child is considered to have sufficient capacity to reason or express a preference, but it is generally assumed to be around 12 years old.

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