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When is a child old enough to decide where they will live?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2020 | Child Custody

From an early age, a child may have strong preferences about decisions that will impact them. They may protest the foods that are served to them at mealtimes, and they may reject their parent’s choices of clothing to establish their own unique style. As they grow, Colorado children may become more vocal about higher stakes preferences, such as where they will go to school and the activities in which they can participate.

One decision that can greatly impact the best interests of a child and over which they may have a strong preference is child custody. When a child’s parents divorce or separate, the child may have to live primarily with just one of their parents. Although some children may not have inclinations toward specific parents in custody cases, other may have powerful feelings about where they will live.

In Colorado, the preferences of children are considered when child custody arrangements are under review. However, the law does not identify a specific age at which a child is old enough to express such a preference. Rather, a court must decide if a child is mature enough to articulate a belief on the subject of their custodial care.

It is important that Colorado parents remember that a child’s preference is only one factor that may be considered during a child custody hearing. A child does not have the unilateral power to determine where they will live, and in the end, the court will establish a plan that dictates where and with whom the child will live.

Child custody is a difficult legal topic that parents often must juggle when they are going through their own divorces and separations. There is no reason that they must address these and other concerns on their own. Family law attorneys can help them find the answers they need to the questions they have about their own legal situations.