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How does a court decide where a child will live?

One of the biggest questions that parents may have when they choose to end their marriages is where their children will live once the parents' divorces are finalized. In Colorado, parents may share custody of their kids or courts may grant sole custody to just one of the parents of a divorcing couple. The decision to permit shared child custody or to order sole custody will depend upon many factors specific to the families in question.

It is easier to split legal custody of a child because ultimately a child does not have to be present for parents to make important decisions about their upbringing. However, splitting physical custody, or the form of custody that concerns where a child will live, is much harder. Moving a child from house to house can be disruptive to their life and may cause them to suffer stress.

Therefore, one factor that courts may consider when it comes to physical custody is whether a child can transition between the parents' homes without too much upheaval. Depending upon the maturity of the child, a court may even ask the child for their preferences regarding where they want to live after a divorce. Courts are bound to determine children's best interests and are ultimately the ones who must choose where a child will live after divorce.

Other factors that may be relevant to physical custody determinations are the child's relationship with their two parents, the presence of abuse in a parent-child relationship and the capacity of the parents to care for their child. All child custody cases are based on the facts of their own cases and therefore individuals should discuss their own cases with their family law attorneys.

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