On any given day a child may prefer to have one parent in charge of them. If a Colorado youth got into a fight with their mother, for instance, then they may prefer to spend the rest of the day with their father. If their father told them it was bedtime, the child might run to their mother for a reprieve.
When parents work together under the same roof, then they can balance out their children's desires and changes in attitude toward them. However, when it comes to establishing parental responsibilities subject to a child custody plan, parents may not fully understand their children's deeply held preferences regarding where they will live.
In Colorado, if a child can form a mature, independent opinion regarding which parent they would prefer to have custody of them, then their family law court will take that preference into consideration. A child's preference is just that, and in the end, a family law judge will decide where the child will live and how their parents will share in the child's custody. However, when a child is able to articulate such an opinion, it is given weight in the process of deciding what will happen to them.
In other states, children have to be certain ages in order to have their preferences heard by family law courts. Colorado law recognizes that children mature at different ages and therefore allows them to have a voice in the custodial plans when they are capable of formulating those preferences on their own. To learn more about how parental responsibilities are assessed during custodial hearings, readers may contact their family law attorneys.