Woodland Hills, CA asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for California

Q: Does my husband have legal visitation rights to my 16-year-old child, even if the child says doesn't want to see him?

The question is based on my wanting a separation from my husband. However, it's problematic since I have a minor child, and I plan to take him with me after separation. I don't need my husband's child support and I don't want my husband to meet my 16-year-old son after separation and neither does my son want to see his father due to some issues. Does my son's opinion matter, or does he have to see his father? Can my husband make this a big issue and make my son stay with him, regardless of who my son wants to stay with?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, the wishes of a minor child, especially one as old as 16, are often taken into consideration in custody and visitation matters. However, a parent's legal rights, including visitation rights, are not automatically nullified based on the child's preferences.

Your husband may still have legal visitation rights, and these rights can only be modified or terminated through a court order. If your son strongly prefers not to see his father, this preference can be presented in court, where a judge will consider it alongside other factors in determining the best interests of the child.

It's also important to note that your husband could potentially challenge any unilateral decision to deny him visitation. In such a situation, the court would evaluate all relevant circumstances, including your son's reasons for not wanting to see his father, to make a decision.

Given the complexities of family law and the specific circumstances of your case, it is advisable to seek legal counsel to navigate this process and ensure that your son's interests are adequately represented in any legal proceedings.

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