Colorado family court judges prefer to award joint child custody to parents who are able to communicate together in the best interests of the children. However, there are some situations where sole legal custody may be warranted. This may include families with a history of domestic violence or substance abuse. In this video, Denver divorce attorney Kathlyn Laraway explains how judges decide family law cases involving children.
So, we see sole decision making awarded where there is a very distinct primary parent, and generally the parents do not have the ability to communicate and make decisions together. We don’t see it very often. I have had judges say to me from the bench, I understand you guys don’t talk. I understand that there’s a restraining order between the parties. But guess what, you’re going to make joint decisions regarding your kids. As an attorney, that drives me insane. But I’ve seen it come out of judge’s mouths on more than one occasion. So people need to understand that when they’re going to court, sole decision making is going to be pretty hard to grasp. But especially when there’s any issues of domestic violence, we generally see that the parties are not going to be able to communicate effectively with one another and the court will then determine who’s been the more primary parent, who’s been the person generally enrolls the child in school, who’s been the person who generally calls and makes doctor’s appointments, goes to doctor’s appointments, is in charge of that with their child. And that’s who would generally receive decision-making. They also might split it up like they have in the past. I’ve certainly had cases where they said alright, we don’t think either of you have been the primary parent, but we also don’t think you’re capable of making joint decisions, so we’re just going to divvy up decision-making between you two.
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