Can children decide which parent they will live with in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2021 | Divorce |

Many children tend to gravitate toward one parent or the other at different stages in their lives. Their parents’ split or divorce can be quite disruptive depending on their allegiances.

Your child may decide that they don’t like one of your parenting styles now that you and your co-parent aren’t putting forth a united front as you raise them. If your child has asked you if they have a right to tell a Colorado family law judge their preferences at an upcoming hearing, you might find it helpful to know the correct response to give them.

Your child’s best interests matter

Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-124 [1] describes how the state prefers for parents to share parenting time and parental responsibilities whenever possible. That same statute references how the state sees it as critical that children have frequent and continued contact with each parent whenever it’s deemed in the child’s best interest.

Can your child tell the Court their custodial preferences?

Generally, no. The judge is generally the one who decides custody when parents reach an agreement about it themselves. However, since Colorado family law judges base their decisions on what’s in your child’s best interest, they might get a say in what happens.

The best interests of the child statute referenced above describe how the state of Colorado doesn’t have a pre-established age at which a child may be permitted to voice their custody preferences. That being said, that statute describes how the Court will first weigh if the child appears to be mature enough to form their own independent opinions before determining whether to listen to their desires or wishes surrounding custody. The statute also describes how any custody decision is ultimately made by the judge, though.

When litigating custody, you have an opportunity to present a persuasive argument for the Court. This is when you might want to highlight both your reasoning for asserting your custodial rights and petition the Court to allow your child to express their preferences. You’ll want to carefully craft your statements to ensure that they’re both respectful of the judge and also have the strongest potential for helping you achieve the end result that you seek.