CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED IN GRANTING CUSTODY
CHILD PREFERENCES MUST BE CONSIDERED BY COURT
Family Code Section 3042
(a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form
an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall
consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an
order granting or modifying custody or visitation.
(b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 765 of
the Evidence Code, the court shall control the examination of a child
witness so as to protect the best interest of the child.
(c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the
court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to
do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child's
best interest, in which case, the court shall state its reasons for that
finding on the record.
(d) This section does not prevent a child who is less than 14 years of
age from addressing the court regarding custody or visitation, if the
court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child's best interest.
(e) If the court precludes the calling of a child as a witness, the court
shall provide alternative means of obtaining input from the child and
other information regarding the child's preferences.
(f) To assist the court in determining whether the child wishes to express
a preference or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation
to the court, a minor's counsel, an evaluator, an investigator, or
a mediator who provides recommendations to the judge pursuant to
Section 3183 shall indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court,
or the judge may make that inquiry in the absence of that request. A party
or a party's attorney may also indicate to the judge that the child
wishes to address the court or judge.
(g) This section does not require the child to express to the court a preference
or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation.
(h) The Judicial Council shall, no later than January 1, 2012, promulgate
a rule of court establishing procedures for the examination of a child
witness, and include guidelines on methods other than direct testimony
for obtaining information or other input from the child regarding custody
(i) The changes made to subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, by the act
adding this subdivision shall become operative on January 1, 2012.