How Colorado courts make decisions in parental responsibilities cases
Having a basic understanding of Colorado parental responsibilities law can help you be a more effective participant in your own case.
August 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- How Colorado courts make decisions in parental responsibilities cases
Article provided by David Littman, P.C.
Visit us at http://www.davidlittmanpc.com
Whenever a couple who has children gets a divorce, a decision-making and parenting time arrangement will have to be created. In some instances, couples are able to work with their divorce attorneys to come to a child custody agreement on their own. If they cannot, the case will go to court where a judge will allocate parental decision-making and parenting time that is in the best interests of the child.
Because child custody cases are so complex, it is advisable to enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney. However, having a basic understanding of Colorado parental responsibilities law can help you be a more effective participant in your own case.
In most Colorado child custody cases, the judge will consider two distinct, but related, issues. The first addresses who will be given the legal authority to make important decisions regarding the child's upbringing. This is sometimes called "legal custody." In Colorado, this is called "allocation of parental responsibilities." The second addresses how much parenting time each parent will be granted. Judges may award either solely to one parent or jointly to both parents.
Each issue is considered separately. In doing so, the judge will consider all of the factors relevant to the child's best interests. With that said, Colorado law does prescribe some issues for judges to keep in mind.
When determining how decision-making ability will be allocated, judges may consider the following factors:
-Evidence shedding light on the parents' ability to make decisions together.
-Whether the parents' past conduct reflects a mutual ability to create a healthy and positive environment for the child.
-Whether granting joint decision-making authority will foster more frequent contact between the child and both of his or her parents.
-Whether either parent has any history of child abuse, child neglect or domestic violence.
When deciding parenting time issues, judges will usually look at the following factors:
-The wishes of each parent.
-The child's wishes, if the child is mature enough to form independent and well-reasoned preferences.
-The child's relationship with each parent and with other members of the family.
-The child's well-being with regard to his or her home, school and community.
-The mental and physical health of each person involved (except that the mere fact of a parent's disability cannot be the sole reason to deny or restrict parenting time).
-Each parent's ability to foster a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent.
-Each parent's past behavior with regard to the raising of the child.
-The parents' physical proximity to each other.
-Any history of child abuse, child neglect or domestic violence.
-Each parent's ability to place the child's needs ahead of his or her own.
If you are facing divorce, it can be helpful to consider how these factors might relate your case, and then discuss them with your divorce attorney. Together, you and your attorney will be able to evaluate your unique strengths and weaknesses to devise a strategy that will help you meet your goals.
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