Child custody is often a major legal and emotional battle for divorcing
parents, separating parents, or biological fathers engaged in a paternity
case to legally become part of their child’s life. While “custody”
is what this issue is commonly called by the public, the state of Colorado
no longer refers to it as such. In the interests of bringing a more humane
look at where a child will live and who will have legal authority over
making major life decisions, the courts term these concepts as “parental
responsibility” and “parenting time.”
If you and the other parent cannot agree on how these issues will be determined
outside of court, it will be left up to a family court judge to decide.
The judge will base their decision on the child(ren)’s best interests.
At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, our attorneys bring vast experience, including
significant trial experience, to this matter. We can help you negotiate
and craft a comprehensive parenting plan that is designed to be fair and
will consider the court’s requirement for putting children first.
The general goal in custody planning is to arrive at an arrangement that
makes it possible for the children to spend as much time as possible with
both parents, provided that this would not pose a risk of emotional or
physical danger to the child(ren).
Factors that the court will consider when determining custody plans include:
Each parent's wishes
The wishes of the children, provided that they are mature enough to make
an informed decision on the matter
Each parent's existing relationship with the children, as well as how much
of a role they play in the children's lives
The degree to which each parent is willing to foster a quality relationship
between the children and the other parent
Parenting plans should detail responsibilities regarding education, healthcare,
religious upbringing, and other vital areas of a child’s life, as
well as a schedule of when and how the child will reside with either parent.
This schedule may be as close to 50-50 as possible or may designate one
parent with more time than the other due to school, daycare, proximity,
or work schedule considerations.
Other important provisions can include how to handle emergencies, special
occasions, vacations, and more; how the transportation of children between
households will be arranged; how children will communicate with parents
when residing at the other parent’s home; and how parents can resolve
disagreements that may arise.
At What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?
No age for when a judge must listen to a child's wishes has been established.
When it comes to deciding custody, children's wishes are considered if
they are mature enough to have an independent opinion.
Additional Issues Regarding Custody
After initial custody arrangements have been formally issued, you may need
to enforce or modify the existing court order. An example of a need for a
modification is when a parent wishes to
relocate with shared children. As a parent, you would have to seek or contest such
a relocation through the court.
If your co-parent violates any of the terms of your parenting plan, including
decision-making or the arranged schedule of overnight visits, you may
also seek to have the current order
enforced through the court. At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, we can provide the representation
you need in these matters as well.
For experienced legal assistance with parental responsibility and parenting
plans, talk to one of our experienced attorneys by
contacting us online or calling