Child custody is a complex legal issue, and you may feel overwhelmed if you are involved in a child custody battle. The good news is that there are experienced child custody lawyers who can help you navigate the legal system to reach the best outcome for your child.
In this blog post, a child custody lawyer from The Drake Law Firm shares some key things you need to know about child custody in Colorado.
Child Custody in Colorado Governed by the “Best Interests of the Child” Standard
When the Court makes a child custody determination in Colorado, they will always do so based on the “best interests of the child” standard. The Court decides where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent based on what is in the best interests of that child in their particular circumstances. This means that the Court will consider a variety of factors when making its decision, including:
- The child’s wishes
- The relationship between each parent and the child
- The child’s age and physical health
- The emotional bond between each parent and the child
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical needs
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s emotional needs
- The stability of each home environment
- The willingness of each parent to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
- The ability of each parent to put the needs of the child above their own
There Are Two Types of Child Custody in Colorado: Physical Custody and Legal Custody
Physical custody determines where a child will live. In some cases, the Court may award joint physical custody, which means the child will spend time living with both parents. However, in other cases, one parent may be awarded primary physical custody, meaning the child will primarily live with that parent.
In addition to physical custody, there is also legal custody. This type of custody determines which parent has the right to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as education, medical care, and religion. Like physical custody, the Court may award joint legal custody or one parent primary legal custody.
Parents Can Agree on Custody Arrangements Outside of Court
It is important to understand that parents can always agree on custody arrangements outside of court. Many courts encourage parents to try to reach an agreement on their own before going to court. If you agree with the other parent, you can submit your agreement to the Court for approval. Once the Court approves your agreement, it will become legally binding.
Parents Can Also Request Mediation to Help Them Reach an Agreement
If you are having difficulty reaching an agreement with the other parent, you may want to consider mediation. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party (the mediator) will help you and the other parent communicate and try to reach a custody agreement. Mediation is generally less expensive and time-consuming than going to court, and it can be an effective way to reach an agreement.
The Court May Order a Child Custody Evaluation
If the Court cannot reach a custody decision based on their information, they may order a child custody evaluation. This is a process in which a mental health professional will interview the parents and observe the parent-child interaction. The evaluator will then provide a report to the Court with their recommendations. We discussed child custody evaluations in more detail in an article you can read here.
The Court’s Decision is Final
Once the Court makes a custody decision, it is final. If one of the parents wants to modify the custody arrangement, they must return to court and get a new order from the Court.
Parents Should Try to Work Together Once a Decision is Made
Once a custody decision is made, the parents need to work together. Even if one parent has primary custody, the other parent still has rights and should be involved in their child’s life. Parents should try to communicate with each other and make decisions together about their child’s upbringing.
How a Child Custody Lawyer Can Help
If you are involved in a child custody case in Colorado, we recommend contacting an experienced child custody attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. Custody battles are never easy, but with the help of a skilled attorney, you can give yourself the best possible chance of winning your case and protecting your child’s best interests. Among other things, a child custody lawyer:
- Knows Colorado law governing child custody in Colorado and will advise you on what type of child custody arrangement may be in your child’s best interests
- Helps you negotiate a parenting plan with your spouse that is acceptable to the Court
- Represents you in the custody case and argues for the custody arrangement that they believe is in your child’s best interests
- Files complicated paperwork with the Court
Get the Child Custody Help You Need and Contact The Drake Law Firm
Child custody issues are frequently the most challenging and emotional legal issues for families going through a divorce. Our experienced and compassionate child custody attorneys can assist you in understanding your rights, from developing a parenting plan to proving paternity. To speak with a Golden, Colorado, child custody lawyer, call us at (303) 261-8111 or fill out our online form here.
Copyright © 2022. The Drake Law Firm, P.C. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
The Drake Law Firm, P.C.
2117 Ford St.
Golden, CO 80401