Understanding How Child Custody Works in Colorado
When you are facing a divorce and children are involved, things can become more complex. Now you are facing a divorce and the issues of child custody and child support. In Colorado, the best interests of the child will always be a guiding factor in how child custody is determined. Child custody in Colorado is broken out into two parts, decision-making and parenting time. In Colorado, decision-making in the lives of children refers to the authority to make major choices that impact their upbringing.
While the court prefers parents to share joint decision-making responsibilities, this approach may not be suitable for all cases. Joint decision-making requires parents to agree on important matters such as education, healthcare, and other significant aspects of their children’s lives, and involves collaborative effort between them. The decision on whether to award joint or sole decision-making is made on a case-by-case basis, with the court potentially awarding one parent sole decision-making responsibilities in certain situations.
What is Parenting Time?
Parenting time determines where the children will reside during the week, weekends, summers, and holidays. Parents can agree to share equal parenting time or create a different arrangement that suits their needs. The parent with whom the children spend the majority of their time is often referred to as the “primary custodian” or “primary parent.” However, if the parents cannot agree on parenting time, a judge will assess different factors to determine what is in the best interests of the children and award parenting time accordingly. A Colorado Springs child custody attorney can help advocate for the outcome you desire while ensuring your the best interests of your children are protected as well.
Joint Custody Versus Full Custody
Each family’s custody agreement will look different because each family has different needs. The judges in Colorado Springs understand this and use many different factors to determine what each family’s custody agreement will look like. Here are some of the factors a judge will us to help them make their decision:
- Your children’s wishes and preferences
- The preferences of each parent
- The quality of your child’s relationships with you, your ex, and other significant people in their life
- The stability of your child’s education, home life, and community connections
- The physical health and well-being of all parties involved
In Colorado, joint custody is always preferred unless it is not in the best interests of the child. It’s important to know that joint custody refers to decision-making, not necessarily the child living with each parent for an equal amount of time. Although there may be a “primary residential parent” this does not mean they have the ability to be the primary decision maker if there is a joint-custody agreement in place. However, if it is determined that sole-custody is best for a situation, the parent with sole custody will act as both the “primary residential parent” and sole decision maker.
Child custody cases aren’t easy, but the right child custody attorney can help you get through the process and take some weight off of your shoulders. Having someone that knows what they are doing and is a strong advocate can be a huge relief and step towards the custody agreement you desire.