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Do a child's wishes influence custody?

Child custody issues can be among the most difficult and divisive parts of any divorce proceeding or family law dispute. Often, this means the biological parents of a child working through the court system to determine the distribution of parental responsibilities such as where the child will live, the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent and the child's education. The wishes of the child in these instances are also important to consider.

Whenever two people divorce or end a relationship that resulted in a child, Colorado judges tend to order parents to share joint parental responsibilities, but a traditional 50/50 division of physical custody is not always possible, especially when parents live in different cities or states. In these cases, one parent is often awarded primary parental responsibilities and sole physical custody of the child, which can affect the child in many ways.

In the state of Colorado, the wishes of a child are considered when making child custody determinations, and a judge will hear a child if he or she is deemed sufficiently mature to have independent opinions. However, Colorado is different from many other states in that there is no specific age at which a judge is required to hear a child's wishes. Ultimately, it is not the child who determines custody, but the court.

In any dispute involving custody of a child, an attorney with experience in child custody matters can provide information on how to proceed with your case. Having this professional guidance can help you understand more about what the court should hear from you, what you will need and how the court will likely respond so that you can represent the child's needs and wishes responsibly.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Colorado Child Custody Laws," accessed June 13, 2016

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