Does your child get to choose their custody arrangements?

As your child begins to get older, they are going to have a lot to say about your family unit. They may start to have their own ideas about how they want to live, where they want to live and how they intend to interact with either parent.

In Colorado, there is no specific age at which your child gets to choose where they live or to determine their custody schedule. However, as they reach the ages of 16 or 17, it’s much more likely that a court will hear them out when they say what they want. Even younger teens can make their wishes known, though they won’t get to make decisions regarding their care.

Your child’s wishes may matter to the court

Although there is no age at which your child can decide on their own custody schedule, they do have a right to make their wishes known. If a judge believes that your child is mature enough to have an independent decision, then they will listen to what they have to say.

For example, a 13-year-old teen is old enough to say if they are or are not comfortable living with their mom or dad. They judge will then have to look at the situation to determine if the child has been influenced and if doing what they’re comfortable with would actually be in their best interests.

At older ages, such as at 16 or 17, it’s more likely that the judge will listen to what the children have to say. At 16 and 17, most teens are driving and have more independence than younger teens and children, and it’s expected that they would know what they want and where they’re living most comfortably.

There is no actual age at which your child can make custody decisions for themselves, but they do have the right to be heard by others. If you are concerned about your child making a decision that you don’t agree with, it’s worth sitting down with your ex-spouse and child to discuss the custody plans you think are best and to make sure they understand why that decision has been made.