The decision to award child custody is based on a number of factors, including the wishes of the parents, the financial situation of the parents, the emotional stability of the parents, the kind of environment that the parent can provide for the child, and other factors. Typically, the law does not like to involve children in court proceedings, especially when they’re at a young or tender age.
However, in Colorado, the laws allow for older children to voice their preferences about the parent that they wish to live. For the child’s wishes to be taken into consideration, he must be deemed mature enough.
The law doesn’t specify the age at which a child may be allowed to voice his own preferences about custody. That has been done to protect children from the mistakes that may be made from their own immaturity. Some 12-year-old children, for instance, may be emotionally mature enough to voice their own preferences, and take their well-being into account before making that decision. Others may be inclined to voice a preference to live with a parent who is much more likely to spoil him, give in to his every whim and desire, and buy him lavish, expensive gifts. Therefore, the decision to allow the child to voice his preference is left to the judge. He must use his discretionary powers, and treat each case on an individual basis.
The judge must also take into consideration the fact that parents may try to unduly influence the child’s decision. Therefore, the court may call in psychologists and other experts in order to determine whether the child’s preference is indeed his own choice.
For help with a child custody matter, speak with a Colorado family lawyer.