SB 170, which was introduced by Senator Leyva, would allow children as young as ten address the court regarding custody or visitation. The bill is being called the “Giving Children a Voice Act”. However, as someone who was involved in the Family Court system for 10 years, I know that this bill will do more harm than good.
People like Senator Leyva probably don’t know what it’s like to be in the middle of a custody dispute. They don’t know what it’s like to live out of a suitcase and have no place to call home. They don’t know what it’s like to walk into a courthouse at ten years old. And walk though a metal detector and see lawyers in suits and police officers and hundreds of people walking to different rooms. They don't know what it’s like to sit in a hard wooden chair shaking with fear waiting to be called in my a judge or mediator. If we truly want to improve the lives of children of divorce, we need to ask people who were once children in this system about what they think should be done.