While divorce or separation is difficult, nothing can be more challenging than child custody in Colorado. Trying to figure out what’s best for the child and ensuring that all needs are met can be difficult. That’s why you need a qualified child custody lawyer in Colorado on your side. We help you navigate the process.
After a divorce or separation, if children are involved, there will need to be a child custody agreement made. While this can be something that the parents agree on, it is still the court’s responsibility to agree it’s what is best for the child. However, having legal counsel on your side helps you to guide through this process much easier.
Best Interest of the Child
Colorado courts always consider the child’s best interests in a divorce or separation case that involves children. Colorado strives to lay out the parenting rights and responsibilities while entering an agreement for the parents to follow.
In Colorado, the courts use several factors to determine custody arrangements and parenting plans. For the most part, parents will share legal custody, which refers to the responsibilities of being a parent. However, one parent tends to have physical custody of the children, while the other receives visitation rights.
Before getting a divorce, you are required by Colorado law to take a mandatory parenting class. This rule aims to help you and your children deal with the trauma that comes from separation and divorce.
Modification of Parenting Time and Decision Making
Once the decision is entered into the courts, you and your ex-spouse must follow the arrangement. If plans or situations change later, you can use your child custody lawyer in Denver to modify the arrangement. However, changes to these arrangements must be done legally for your protection.
The Father’s Rights
In Colorado, a father’s rights are equal to what the mother receives, which means that the courts give fathers the same consideration when deciding child custody. If the children should live with their father, the courts will order that. While it’s best to come to a joint agreement for the children, there are times when the parents cannot agree. In these situations, the judge will listen to the father’s concerns before making a decision.
The Mother’s Rights
Mothers have the same rights as fathers in Colorado. Either parent has the right to pursue child custody and be heard in court. If you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on child custody, the courts will decide based on the child’s best interests.
Grandparents also have the right to visitation if there is a court order for child custody. However, grandparents’ rights do not extend to families that are still together but choosing not to have a relationship with the grandparents.
If the court feels that visitation is not safe for the child, supervised visitation will be ordered instead. Some of the reasons courts implement this restriction include:
- Alcohol/Drug Abuse
- Child’s Request
- Domestic Violence
- Emotional Abuse
- Mental Illness
Supervised visitation occurs in multiple ways. Sometimes, the custodial parent can provide the necessary supervision. Other times, third-party supervision is required. However, Colorado courts also provide group supervision options, telephone or video visits, and therapeutic supervision.
Changes in Parenting Time
It’s possible to make changes to the visitation time or child custody in Colorado. However, modifying parenting time cannot occur if another change was made within the past two years unless the child is in danger.
If you want to relocate the child during a divorce, the court will look at the situation as if you have already moved. However, if you choose to relocate after the child custody order is in effect, you need to make a post-decree request.
Again, the courts go back to deciding what is in the best interests of the child. The judge will want to know:
- Reason for relocation
- Why other parent objects
- History of relationship with both parents
- Educational opportunities between the new and current location
- Location of extended family
- Impact of the relocation on the child
- Whether a reasonable agreement can be made
Enforced Court Orders
Colorado uses two mechanisms to enforce a court order. The first is entering a judgment when the parent doesn’t pay child support and is the same process used when the party fails to transfer property as ordered by the court.
There’s also the issue of contempt. Colorado law makes provisions for direct contempt and indirect contempt. Direct contempt refers to a person going against the court order’s authority while in front of the judge. Indirect contempt occurs when the parent does not abide by the ruling while outside of the courtroom.
How A Colorado Child Custody Attorney Can Help You
All of this might seem unclear to you now, but a qualified child custody lawyer in Denver understands the process. You could probably navigate the forms, rulings, and court proceedings on your own, but why would you want to? If you have any questions, there’s no one standing by your side to help. There’s no reason to go through the process alone.
Instead, opt to retain a qualified family lawyer in Parker. We can sit with you and discuss your concerns. The best route is to have both parents come to a child custody agreement, but that can’t always happen. Sometimes, the courts have to make these decisions, and when they do, you want Thomas Ramunda Jr. on your side.
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Child Custody Lawyer in Denver, CO
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Child Custody in Parker, CO
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Child Custody Lawyer in Colorado Springs
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