Child custody issues can arise with or independent of divorce. When disputes over custody arise, a Boulder family lawyer at The Datz Law Firm can help you protect your rights and interests while working tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible resolutions. Whether you looking to obtain or change child custody orders, we can provide you with vigorous advocacy at every point in your case.
Call (720) 573-0539 or Email Us for Crucial Insights Regarding Your Child Custody Case
We are available to meet with clients during and outside of our office hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday). We are flexible, available and responsive so you can get the information and advice you need whenever custody issues may arise.
What Does Custody Mean?
Child custody incorporates two important elements of a child’s upbringing:
- Parenting time – This is the physical time each parent has with the child.
- Decision-making responsibilities – This is the legal authority each parent has with regards to major decisions about a child’s healthcare, education, religion and/or other matters related to raising the child.
Parenting time and decision-making authority do not necessarily have to be divided in the same manner. In other words, these two elements of custody can be split in different ways. For instance, while a court may award primary custody to one parent, it may also order equal or joint decision-making responsibility between the two parents.
Who Gets Child Custody in Divorce?
When child custody is an issue in a divorce case, the matter can be resolved in either of the following ways:
- By agreement between the parents – If parents can come to an agreement about how to split custody of their child, they can submit their agreement (i.e., the parenting plan) to the court for review. Typically, the court will uphold the agreed-upon custody arrangements parents come up with on their own.
- By court order – When parents are unable to agree on the division of custody, the family court will intervene to resolve the dispute. In some cases, the court may order parenting classes and/or mediation prior to issuing a final custody order.1
How Does the Court Resolve Child Custody Disputes?
When custody disputes require court intervention, the court will resolve these disputes by determining what would serve the best interests of the child involved. The factors the court considers when making a best interest determination in custody disputes include (and may not be limited to):
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- The wishes of each parent and the child (as long as the child is mature enough to explain these)
- Other significant relationships the child has (like relationships with grandparents or other family members)
- The physical and mental health of each parent, including whether either parent has a history of problematic, risky or criminal behavior (like addiction, abuse or a criminal record)
- The physical distance or proximity of the parents and whether (or the degree to which) the child would need to adjust to a new community
- The ability and willingness of each parent to:
- Place the child’s needs above his or her own needs
- Promote a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent.
Consequently, it’s important to note that Colorado custody laws are gender neutral. This means that gender is not a factor that the court considers when reviewing and resolving custody disputes.
Can Custody Arrangements Be Changed or Modified?
Yes. It is possible to request a modification of child custody orders if or when the circumstances of either parent have substantially changed. Some grounds for custody modifications can include (and are not limited to) one parent:
- Moving farther away (like to another county or state)
- Changing careers and/or work schedules
- Returning to school
- Being diagnosed with a new health impairment
- Being incarcerated.
If parents can agree on custody modifications, they can typically submit the modifications to the court for review and approval. When disputes regarding custody modifications arise, the court will intervene to resolve these disputes.
Please note that, according to Colorado law, custody modifications that significantly change a child’s primary residence cannot be requested within two years of a prior order (unless the child is in danger or the current arrangement presents a risk to the child’s wellbeing).
Don’t Face a Custody Battle Alone: Contact an Experienced Boulder Child Custody Lawyer at The Datz Law Firm
If you are involved any type of custody dispute, contact a Boulder child custody lawyer at The Datz Law Firm for superior representation and effective help seeking the best possible outcome.
Call (720) 573-0539 or email us for a case evaluation and crucial answers about your options.
At The Datz Law Firm, we know how stressful and consuming child custody problems can be. That is why we are here to help you resolve these legal issues, get through the challenging times and move on towards a brighter future. We are proud to provide the same type of legal advocacy and client-centered service that we would expect if we were in our clients’ shoes.
In various types of custody and family law cases, The Datz Law Firm represents clients throughout Boulder County and the state of Colorado.
1: More information & forms from the Colorado Courts regarding Child Custody Matters