Child custody battles can be emotionally draining and legally complicated, and the outcome of the case can have a significant impact on both the parents and the children involved in the court system. In Colorado, fathers have the same legal rights to custody as mothers, and the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. If you are a father seeking custody of your child in Colorado, here is what you need to know.
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
Before diving into the specifics of father’s rights, it’s important to understand the difference between legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including their education, medical care, and religious practices. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to the actual physical care and supervision of the child.
In Colorado, both legal and physical custody can be awarded solely to one parent or shared between the parents, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some of the factors the court considers include:
- The child’s wishes, if they are old enough to express a preference.
- The physical and emotional needs of the child.
- Each parent’s ability to care for the child.
- Each parent’s willingness to promote a relationship between the child and the other parent.
- The child’s relationship with each parent.
- Any history of domestic violence or child abuse.
- Father’s Rights in Colorado
In Colorado, both parents have the same legal rights, and the court must treat both parents equally when making custody decisions. However, there are some specific challenges that fathers may face in custody battles.
One common challenge is the assumption that the mother is the primary caregiver and should be awarded primary custody. This assumption is outdated and discriminatory, but it can still influence custody decisions in some cases. To overcome this bias, fathers must demonstrate their ability and willingness to care for their children and actively participate in their lives. This is especially hard to do when really young children are the subject of the case. Our attorneys are very good at creating ways to show the Court the impact on young children if a father is not allowed equal rights, and our attorneys are up to date on the current research involving fathers rights.
Another challenge for fathers is establishing paternity. If the parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth, the father may need to establish paternity before seeking custody. This can be done through DNA testing or by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity form.
Finally, fathers may face obstacles in obtaining a fair custody agreement if they have a history of criminal behavior or substance abuse (although the same can be said for mothers with similar records). However, it’s important to note that having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify a parent from obtaining custody, and a skilled family law attorney can help fathers present a compelling case for custody despite their past mistakes.
Consulting with a Family Lawyer
If you are a father seeking custody of your child in Colorado, it’s essential to consult with a family lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and protect your rights. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand the relevant laws, gather evidence to support your case, and negotiate a fair custody agreement that supports you as well as that of your child.