Child Custody Lawyer in Denver
What is child custody?
While divorce is one of the most difficult situations you will go through, it is ten times worse when a child is involved. Child custody is used to determine the relationship status between the parents and their child. The parent (or parents) who is awarded custody is given the legal right to make decisions on behalf of the child, as well as the responsibility to care for the child. In cases where the parents are divorcing, unmarried or not living together, the courts have two types of custody to determine: legal and physical. Based on the court's judgment, they will award either joint or sole custody, meaning that either parent could be given this right.
How is child custody determined in Colorado?
In the state of Colorado, the big determinant of custody is the best interests of the child. In cases where the child is of age to make logical cognitive decision, the court will take their preference into consideration as well.
The other prominent factors that play a role in determining custody are:
- The parent's wishes
- Determining if they are "fit" parents
- The child's relationship to each parent
- The child's relationship to the siblings
- The child's adjustment to the school and home environment
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Which parent has more time to spend with the child
- Who can better provide for the child (for ex: furthering their education)
- The geographical proximity between both parents
- The parenting styles (are they encouraging, loving and supportive)
In Colorado, the judges prefer to award the parents with joint custody. This gives both parents ample time and contact with their child. and minimalizes any altering to the child's normal routine and lifestyle. The court however, will not grant joint custody to a parent that they view as "unfit" or a risk to the physical and emotional wellbeing of the child. Such judgments are usually given in cases where one parent has a history of violence, abuse, neglect, alcohol or drug dependency, or a criminal record.
Types of Child Custody in Colorado
Sole Legal Custody
When the court is discussing matters of sole legal custody they are referring to one parent, the one and only person who has the authority to make legal decisions on their child's behalf. These legal decisions could be in reference to anything such as what schools they go to, what church they will attend, what extra-curricular activities they can participate in, what places they can visit, who will be their primary doctor and much more.
Joint Legal Custody
In cases where both parents are awarded legal custody of their child, they must consult with one another about any major decision pertaining to the child. They legally share this responsibility and must be in communication and agreement with one another. Having joint legal custody however, does not necessarily mean that the parents also share joint physical custody.
Sole Physical Custody
The physical custody of the child determines where they will reside the majority of the time. When a parent is allotted sole physical custody, this means that the child will live with them and belong to only one residence. In cases of this nature, the non-custodial parent will be granted visitation time to spend with the child, in some instances this may include sleepovers.
Joint Physical Custody
The court's prefer to award joint custody if possible, because it encourages shared parenting and gives the child quality time with each parent. With a joint physical custody arrangement, the child is able to reside with both parents, alternating between the two. The child's time is divided up so that the time spent at each residence is just about equal.
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In Colorado, child custody is more commonly referred to as "parenting time," and the courts will decide this based on the child's best interest. The length of time for your divorce case depends on whether you filed a contested or uncontested divorce, and could take anywhere from six months to a year to work out all the details of the agreement. The legal team at Jones Law Firm, P.C., can help you obtain temporary orders that will protect your interests until the divorce case can be resolved
If you are looking to establish a custody agreement or modify an existing agreement, you will need the help of an experienced Denver family attorney. At Jones Law Firm, PC, we will do everything in our power to turn your objectives into a reality. With a qualified attorney from our firm fighting on your side, your rights will be protected and you can ensure that your voice will be heard when determining custody. We know how important family is and we want to help you fight to keep your children close during this crucial time. Our firm is committed to producing results, even during aggressive and complex litigation.
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