There are many difficult aspects to contend with during divorce proceedings in Denver, but when it comes to the issue of child custody and visitation, the situation can become truly contentious.
It’s only natural for each parent to want to spend as much time as possible with children following divorce, and spouses can become understandably emotional at the prospect of losing time with children.
As a parent, you naturally want the best for your child, and the Colorado legal system agrees. Unfortunately, parents and courts may have different ideas about what is best for children.
This is why it’s so important to understand the ins and outs of child custody.
Our child custody lawyers at Curtis Law Firm have the expert advice and legal services you need to protect your parental interests in your Denver child custody negotiation.
At What Age Can a Child Decide Custody in Colorado?
The age a child can decide custody in Colorado is determined by a judge ruling in your custody case will take your child's best wishes into record when determining custody.
A child between the ages of 12-14 will be given the chance to declare which parent they would prefer to live with essentially.
Schedule an initial consultation with our custody team today. Call (720) 408-7726 or contact us online. Si hablamos español.
It was wonderful to be reassured, His office staff was courteous, and Mr. Curtis was knowledgeable, professional, but was very personable.Shirley H.
In Colorado, the courts refer to custody as "parental responsibility," which can be primary or joint. If a parent has less than 90 overnight visits with the child, the other parent will be considered to have primary parental responsibility. If both parents have an equal amount of overnight visits with the child, they will both share joint parental responsibility.
Note that Colorado child custody laws recognize two categories of custody – parenting time (physical custody) and decision-making (legal custody), either of which can be sole or shared jointly.
According to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-124 (b)(1), whether parents will share legal custody depends on:
- whether they can cooperate and make decisions jointly;
- whether the past pattern of the parents' involvement with the child encouraged a mutually supportive environment;
- whether the parents can work together to provide a positive and nourishing relationship with the child; and
- if any particular allocation of authority will be more likely to facilitate frequent contact between the child and both parents.
A Denver court will not typically order joint legal custody if one of the parents is abusive or neglectful.
Physical custody may similarly be joint if both parents are allowed relatively equal parenting time. (Note that the Colorado courts lean toward shared custody as a default, unless the best interests of the child are not met in such an arrangement). In a shared custody situation, parents may propose a parenting plan to the court that outlines their preferred schedule for parenting time, including physical custody and visitation (below).
Older children may be allowed some input as to their preferences. If the court feels the parenting plan is in the best interests of the children, it will be approved. If the court rejects the plan or the parents fail to provide one, the court will create a plan.
There may be custody cases where a custodial parent is granted significantly more parenting time than the non-custodial parent if the court deems it in the child's best interests to have one primary physical home. Such a situation is sole custody with rights of visitation. Scheduling in such a situation should address visitation (“parenting time”) for the non-custodial parent that falls during weekends and holidays, for instance.
The Best Interests of the Child Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-124 (1.5)(a) states that custody may be awarded “to either parent based on the best interest of the child, and shall consider all relevant factors.”
Such factors will be taken into consideration as the court evaluates an appropriate parenting plan, and they may include:
- the child's wishes (if old enough and mature enough);
- the parent's wishes as to parenting time;
- the child's relationship with each parent and siblings;
- the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- each parent's ability to encourage the love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
- whether the parent's past involvement with the child shows values, time commitment, and mutual support;
- the physical proximity of the parent's homes to each other; and
- the ability of each parent to place the child's needs ahead of their own.
Child custody negotiations can be difficult to navigate, especially as they concern the critical relationship between child and parent.
At Curtis Law Firm, our family lawyers understand how important your family is to you, and we will do our best to protect your and your child’s interests as we help you negotiate a favorable child custody arrangement.
Don’t go through your child custody negotiations alone; let Curtis Law Firm help. Call (720) 408-7726 or contact us online for legal assistance today.
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