When two parents are in the middle of a divorce, the most affected person is usually the child, according to our child custody attorneys. In most cases, both parents are usually unable to make a decision on who will get custody of the child. As a result, the court usually ends up deciding who will take custody of the child, where the child will live as well as how custody and visitation will be divided among parents. One of the key questions that usually lingers on every parent’s mind is does the preference of the child matter in a child custody proceeding in Orange County? Does the child’s preference to where he/she wants to live, the parent that he/she wants to have custody with or how much time he/she wants to spend with each parent matter in the judge’s custody decision?

Does A Child’s Preference Matter in Orange County Child Custody Proceedings?

Yes, the child preference usually matters, according to our child custody lawyers. If the child wants to speak in court, the jury will give the child a chance to speak and express his/her opinion regarding what he/she wants. However, the child’s opinion will have more weight if the child is of sufficient age and has the capacity to reason independently. However, the court’s final decision will not be based purely on the child’s preference because of the following factors:

    1. The parent may manipulate the child’s decision

Sometimes the child may speak in court expressing his/her preference on which parent he/she wishes to stay with because one of the parent has manipulated him/her. One of the parents may take advantage of his/her influence to the kid to manipulating so that the kid says things that will make the jury make a ruling that favors him /her. One of the parents may make endless promises to the child or shower the child with endless gifts to manipulate the child to say things that favor him. That is why courts in Orange County will not make the final decision based on child’s preference alone. They will also consider other factors.

    1. The child does not understand the divorce process in detail

The child will express his/her preference on the court based on what he/she is aware of at the moment. In most cases, children are not involved in the divorce process and are usually in the dark. The child’s preference may be as a result of the other parent’s influence or as a result of how he/she feels at the moment. In most cases, children don’t understand the long-term implications of the divorce and child custody. That is why the court will also consider other important factors when making the final decision on who will get child custody.

The child’s preference usually matters and can influence the final verdict of the judge. However, the main aim of the court is to protect the right and interest of the child. As a result, they will consider many factors besides listening to what the child wants, in order to ensure that the child is well taken care of.