SB 170 Would Allow Children 10 and Older to Testify in Court
SACRAMENTO – Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) today introduced important legislation to allow a child who is 10 years of age or older to address the court regarding their own custody or visitation, if the child wishes to do so.
Co-sponsored by the California Protective Parents Association and the Center for Judicial Excellence, SB 170 would lower the current age threshold from 14 to 10 years of age at which children are allowed—if they so desire—to testify in family court during custody or visitation proceedings. Despite the direct impact of these decisions, children are not parties to these cases and are not always permitted to address the court about their wishes. In response to concerns that children’s wishes were being shut out of the family law process, the Governor signed AB 1050 (Ma) in 2010 to allow children 14 years of age or older to testify in their parents’ custody or visitation proceedings, unless the court determined that doing so was not in the child’s best interest. Neither existing law nor SB 170 would require a child to address the court unless he or she chooses to do so. [Read More…]