As kids age, they go through distinct period in which one parent is favored over the other. In fact, as they move through the later stages of adolescence, there are times at which neither parent is particularly valued. For those Colorado parents who are preparing for a child custody case, their worries over which parent the child prefers are often for naught. The courts might take a child’s preferences into consideration, but custody is determined by a great many other factors.

When parents are unable to reach a custody agreement on their own, or are returning to court to ask for a change, judges evaluate the particular set of parenting skills that each parent has to offer. They are looking for the home environment that best supports the needs of the child. Chief among those needs are structure and discipline, which are among the less enticing aspects of parenthood. A parent who is the child’s “favorite” but who is unable to provide guidance and structure will be viewed as less beneficial than one who is willing to enforce the rules and guide the child’s choices and behavior.

Parents must remember that once a custody agreement or order is in place, both parties will have the ability to take the matter back to court if they feel that a change of custody is necessary. Things shift over time, and the environment that was best for a child at age eight might not remain the best environment at age 15. In order to preserve the most possible time with one’s child, it is important to create and maintain the best possible parenting guidelines.

On the other hand, for those Colorado parents who feel that their kids would benefit from a change in custody, creating a legal strategy could help make that goal a reality. In cases where one parent has relaxed the rules to try and become a child’s “favorite” parent, an argument can be made that the best interests of the child might be better served in a more structured environment. A family law attorney can provide advice and guidance on how to proceed with seeking a child custody modification.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, “Avoiding the “Most Popular Parent” contest in custody cases“, Patra A. Sinner, April 6, 2016