The best interests of the children are a common phrase in divorce proceedings. The offspring of divorcing parents have no say in the decision that resulted in their parents splitting up. Yet, they are left with the emotional aftermath and uncertainty that comes with a life-changing decision.
As kids of divorced parents move into a new phase of life, stress and a sense of awkwardness set in on a new normal.
Various factors in play
As with most other states, California family courts look at various factors when awarding primary custody to the parents. While judges take into consideration what the child wants, it is not at the top of the list when it comes to the final ruling. Their best interests come first, even if they don’t agree with the decision.
Older children may take a firm stance on which parent they want to live with in the future. Yet, it may not be the best decision based on other factors, some of which the child may lack awareness. Ultimately, California law allows children 14 years old and older to express their preference to facilitate the custody process.
However, that choice is not the final say, as emotional elements, parental pressure/alienation, and the child’s sense of duty could play a role in that “decision.”
There is no template for this process. Each family dynamic is different and highly complicated. The end of a marriage sees spouses and children who are not at their best. An attorney’s representation can help focus on the legal aspects while family members adjust to the significant change that comes with a marriage ending.