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Do children have a say in child custody disputes?

California children are often caught in the middle between their divorcing parents during a child custody battle. Depending on the age of the children, the court will sometimes consider their wishes, but a complete exploration to determine the best interests of the child will usually occur. A child's wishes may not always be found to be the best solution.

While children do sometimes have a voice in child custody proceedings, their reasoning must be based on a certain level of maturity. A child's motives may be considered, but the courts are often faced with deciding whether parental interference has occurred because one or even both parents may try to sway a child's views to meet their own desires. Parents sometimes coerce their children into taking sides in child custody disputes, and the courts realize that this scenario does occur.

In these cases, it is up to the courts to determine the best interests of the child. A child may tell the judge which parent he or she would rather live with, but once all the facts are presented to the court, the other parent may be found to be a better choice. Children may not always see the reality of their situation, and in some cases they will simply choose the parent who is more indulgent.

In the midst of a divorce, or even several years later as the circumstances of lives change, parents may find themselves with differences of opinion when it comes to child custody. If they are unable to negotiate a solution with the help of their respective family law attorneys, mediation might be an appropriate method of resolving the issue.

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