Children’s Testimony in Child Custody Proceedings: Thinks to Keep in Mind

family law attorneysWhen it comes to divorce proceedings and child custody hearings, some parents are keen to have the court hear about their child’s preferences, especially the parent for whom the child has expressed desire to live with. This can raise different issues, and the California courts consider things such as whether the child’s interests align with his/her preferences, how much weight to give to the child’s stated preferences.

This is why we’ve outlined a few things to keep in mind when it comes to children’s testimony and child custody proceedings in California. For more information, be sure to reach out to one of our family law attorneys at Rubin & Levavi, P.C.

Child’s Preferences Are Given “Due Weight”

A child’s preference is just one of many factors which courts use to make decisions on child custody arrangement and modification proceedings. For example, this weight is more tangible in a modification proceeding, where the child is experienced with current circumstances, and has less weight to it during an initial custody arrangement.

Children Fourteen Years Or Older Must Be Allowed To Testify

Children who are fourteen or older must be allowed to offer their testimony during child custody proceedings, provided that the child’s testimony is in his/her best interest. Children under 14 may typically only be allowed when the court has determined that they are capable of offering an intelligent and reasoned preference in regards to custody or visitation.

 Courts can Prohibit A Child's Testimony if It Is Not In His/Her Best Interest

If a court determines that the benefits of a testimony is outweighed by its potential detriments, such as emotional impact, it may prohibit the child from testifying. Courts need to be very careful about protecting the interests and safety of involved children, which includes repercussion from another parent or potential to cause discord amongst families.

Have any questions about child custody proceedings or divorce? For all your custody and family law matters in California, know that you can rely on Rubin & Levavi, P.C. Call us at (415) 564-2776 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.