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What Factors Determine Child Custody in Colorado?
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What Factors Determine Child Custody in Colorado?

Child Custody – Divorce is never easy, and that difficulty is primarily borne by those least able to understand the circumstances causing this life disruption: children.  Unraveling two co-joined lives into separate spheres is easy when the only concern is an equitable distribution of assets and debts.

While sometimes contentious, simple division of monetary assets and debts is relatively easy.  Obviously, it is impossible to place a monetary value on child custody arrangements.  Indeed, Colorado courts utilize a myriad of factors when determining child custody cases in the state, but the sole consideration is to determine the best interest of the child.

Known as allocation of parental responsibilities, as opposed to child custody, the court looks at two realms of parental responsibility following a divorce: legal and custody.  Let us look at these two core areas that courts look at when assigning parental responsibility during a couple’s divorce proceedings.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Here in the Centennial State, the legal process to determine child custody in the event of a divorce is known as the allocation of parental responsibilities (APR), which will be used as the determinant to decide which of the two parents, or both, will exercise important, legal  decision making responsibility in terms of things like school attendance, medical help, and other important aspects of the minor’s life.

Also, the court’s APR decision will spell out the details involving the amount of time each parent has with the children, known as parenting time schedule.  It is within this framework that the court will make arrangements regarding a payment system for child support.

Finally, when the parents have very young children, the court may mandate parenting classes for the two parents to help ease the transition for the entire family.  It should be noted that when it comes to assigning parental responsibilities, in term of amount of time spent, the court will probably lean towards awarding the mother the lion share of the available time with the child.  It is generally recognized that the mother holds an outsized role in the care and nourishment of the child through the first year of the baby’s life.

When making these determinations, the court will look at an array of factors to decide the ideal placement option for your children.  While the judge will make the final determination in the case, their decision regarding custody considers the following factors:

  • Preference of the child.
  • Presence of siblings.
  • Mental health of participants
  • Observed interactions between children and parents.
  • Proximity of either parent to child’s home

As mentioned, while these factors play a role in assigning custody right to parents, the judge holds final sway on the decision, and this is shown in the way the court awards custody to infants.  As a rule, the court will generally assign full time custody to a single parent.  Equally important, parents with a documented history of neglect or abuse will result in the other parent being awarded the sole custody role.

The impact on divorce for the family’s children can be devastating, so when attempting to determine whether parents will share joint legal custody for the children depends on the following:

  • Parents can cooperate and make decisions jointly
  • Indications of the past pattern of the parents’ involvement with the child reflects a mutually supportive environment
  • Parents can work together to provide a positive and nourishing relationship with the child, and any arrangements will be more likely to encourage more contact between the children and parents.

As mentioned, the primary consideration in any court rulings will be the best circumstances of the children and all decisions will reflect that goal.  Even in the most amicable of situations however, there is room for strife, and having a competent attorney by your side can help make the entire process for manageable.  In addition to helping ensure your custody rights, this lawyer can help you draft an APR that gives you legal recourse in the event that you find your soon to be ex fails to live up to their end of the agreement.

Call the Child Custody Attorney in Fort Collins That You Can Trust

If you are trying to get through a divorce, and know that you need a knowledgeable custody attorney, you need to reach out to our team of family law attorneys.  If you have questions regarding the custody of your children, you need to call our firm here at The Cossitt Law Firm.

We appreciate the intricacy of unraveling a family unit into separate lives, and our know-how and professional representation help.  We have extensive knowledge of family law in Colorado, and we use this knowledge to make sure our clients receive the best possible representation after a divorce.

Contact our Fort Collins office today for a free consultation and get the answers you need regarding your children in any upcoming Colorado divorce proceedings.  The future is too important to leave to chance when it comes to the raising of your children. Let our experienced divorce lawyers help you navigate this new arena.  Divorce is stressful, but you do not have to be stressed out owing to a lack of information, if you have questions we have the answers.

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