Are you going through a divorce in Colorado and concerned about what custody arrangement is best for your child?
It’s easy to feel intimidated by the complexities of family law, especially since regulations can vary so drastically between states. That is why we’ve created a guide to help you better navigate the arrangements available to you and your family.
Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody
Unlike most states, Colorado does not define custody as joint, sole, or shared custody. In fact, the state does not use the term “custody” at all.
Instead, the court uses the term “Allocation of Parental Responsibility” (APR), which can be either primary or joint.
Colorado child custody laws divide parental responsibility into two categories: parenting time and decision making. Parenting time refers to residential agreements, whereas decision-making refers to legal authority.
In terms of physical custody, a judge may find that the child’s best interest is to have one primary home while spending predetermined periods with the other parent. A parent is said to have primary parental responsibility for a child if the co-parent is entitled to fewer than 90 overnight visitations per year.
Decision-making responsibility refers to a parent’s ability to make major life decisions (medical, religious, educational, extracurricular) concerning their child. Primary decision-making responsibility grants this ability to a single parent, whereas joint responsibility means the parents both have a say.
Joint parental responsibility decisions depend on:
- Whether the parents can make shared decisions cooperatively.
- If the parents’ involvement with the child reflects a supportive environment.
- If the parents can create a positive relationship with the child.
To better understand how circumstances can affect the custody of your child, seek a child custody lawyer. Colorado’s particular laws usually necessitate the legal aid of professionals familiar with the system.
Is Primary Parental Responsibility Common in Colorado?
What most states consider “sole custody” is challenging to achieve, and Colorado is no different. Instead, Colorado courts strive to keep both parents involved in a child’s life following a divorce whenever possible.
However, a judge will grant sole parental responsibility to one parent under the following circumstances:
- Sexual assault
- Domestic assault
- Child abuse
If you’re facing these accusations in your case, you can get help from a child custody lawyer. Denver residents can rely on groups like the COLaw Team to protect themselves and their families.
What Does the Court Consider in Its Decision?
Colorado courts take custody very seriously, and judges are legally required to evaluate the following when determining a parenting agreement:
- The child’s wishes, if old enough.
- A parent’s ability to encourage contact between the child and the other parent.
- The child’s relationship with their home, school, and community.
- The ability of each parent to prioritize the child’s needs.
- Each parent’s history of involvement with the child.
These are only some of the factors that affect a custody decision. An experienced Denver family lawyer can provide you with all of the insight you need to move forward with your case.
Need Legal Help?
Divorce and child custody can be a trying experience.
At the COLaw Team, we have dedicated ourselves to treating every client as a VIP. Our clients receive only the best care, and we use the latest in technology to make our legal services affordable.
Contact us on our website or call us at (970) 670-0738 to get in touch with a professional Colorado child custody lawyer today.