Child custody issues can give rise to heated, emotionally charged disputes. Whenever custody disputes arise during or outside of divorce, parents can count on the experienced attorneys at The Datz Law Firm for vigorous advocacy and compassionate, exceptional legal service in the pursuit of favorable resolutions.
At The Datz Law Firm, we know just how distressing and overwhelming custody issues can be. That is why we are committed to helping parents resolve custody disputes as favorably as possible so they can get back to what matters most – raising and spending time with their children.
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How Does Colorado Law Define Child Custody?
Under Colorado law, child custody is referred to as “parental responsibilities.” When it comes to dividing custody or determining the allocation of parental responsibilities, two important components will be the focal points of these determinations:
- The physical time each parent gets with the child (i.e., the parenting time)
- The legal authority each parent has to make important decisions regarding the child’s health, wellbeing and upbringing (i.e., the parental decision-making responsibilities).
When parents can agree on both of these aspects of child custody:
- They can develop a detailed parenting plan, explaining their agreement.
- The parenting plan can be submitted to the court for review. Generally, the court will approve these parenting plans, issuing final custody orders based on the details of these plans.
When any aspect of custody is disputed by parents, the court will intervene to resolve the dispute.
How Does the Court Resolve Child Custody Disputes?
The court will focus on determining what promotes the child’s best interests. As part of these determinations, the court will evaluate what will:
- Ensure and protect the child’s physical safety
- Promote the child’s emotional and developmental needs.
The specific factors the court takes into consideration when evaluating what would serve the best interests of a child include (but may not be limited to):
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The child’s wishes, so long as the child is mature enough to express these to the court
- The wishes of both parents
- The mental and physical health of each parent and the child
- Each parent’s willingness to foster a loving relationship between the child and the other parent
- The proximity of the parents (i.e., how close the parents live to each other)
- Whether the child will have to adjust to a new community, home and/or school
- Each parent’s history of abuse, domestic violence, addiction, criminal activities or other problematic behavior (when applicable).
Are Parenting Time and Decision-Making Authority Split or Awarded in the Same Way?
These two aspects of child custody do NOT have to be divided between the parents in the same manner. In other words, the court has the authority to allocate these responsibilities in any way it sees fit, depending on the circumstances of a case.
This can mean that, regardless of how the parenting time is divided, the courts may order that:
- Parental decision-making responsibilities are split up evenly between the parents.
- One parent has 100 percent of the decision-making responsibilities.
- One parent is responsible for making certain decisions regarding the child while the other parent has the authority to make other decisions for the child. For instance, the court may order that the father has the authority to make decisions regarding health care and education while the mother has the authority to make decisions regarding religious upbringing and extracurricular activities.
Can Child Custody Orders Be Changed?
Yes, it is possible to request modifications of child custody orders. Generally, the court will only consider and grant custody modifications every two years, unless the child’s safety is threatened by the current arrangement. When custody modifications are requested, the court may also consider making modifications to existing child support orders.
Given how crucial custody matters can be to a child’s wellbeing – and to your relationship with your child, it’s essential to have an experienced Broomfield custody lawyer in your corner, protecting your rights and guiding you to the best outcomes possible.
Contact an Experienced Broomfield Child Custody Attorney at The Datz Law Firm
If you need help establishing, modifying or enforcing custody orders, a Broomfield child custody attorney at The Datz Law Firm is ready to provide you with superior representation.
Call (720) 879-1114 or email us for a case evaluation and the answers you need to protect your rights and interests as you proceed.
Dedicated to helping our clients achieve their legal objectives, we are proud to offer the same type of legal advocacy and client-centered service that we would demand if we were in our clients’ shoes. From our Broomfield offices, we represent clients throughout the state of Colorado in various types of custody and family law cases.