Child Custody Laws
Denver Family Law Attorney
Child custody can be a harrowing ordeal, and sometimes a parent's heavy emotions play a role in resolving these cases. Parents want to give the best for their child, but sometimes it is not enough to simply decide and be done with it. It is up to the impartial judgment of the courts to determine that.
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, the big determinant of custody is the best interests of the child. In cases where the child is old enough make conscious decisions, the court will take their preference into consideration as well.
The other prominent factors that play a role in determining custody are:
- Determining parents' ability and availability
- Who can better provide for the child (for ex: furthering their education)
- The child's relationship to each parent and siblings
- The child's school and home environment
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- How close the parents live to each other
- The parenting styles (if they are encouraging, loving and supportive)
Judges prefer to award the parents with joint custody, as this allows parents an equal amount of time to spend with the child and lessens the disruption to the 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 well-being of the child. Such judgments are usually given in cases where one parent has a problematic history that might include abuse, neglect, or alcohol and/or drug dependencies.
Types of Child Custody
Child custody is more commonly referred to as "parenting time," and the courts will decide this based on the child's best interest.
These are the main types of child custody:
- Sole legal custody: When the court is discussing matters of sole legal custody, they are referring to one parent who will be the only person with the authority to make legal decisions on their child's behalf.
- 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.
- Sole physical custody: The physical custody 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.
- Joint physical custody: The courts prefer to award joint custody if possible, because it gives the child quality time with each parent. The child is able to reside with both parents, alternating between the two.
If you are looking to establish a custody agreement or modify an existing agreement, you will need the help of an experienced Denver family law attorney. At Jones Law Firm, PC, we try to do everything in our power to turn your objectives into a reality. 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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