Denver Divorce Lawyer News & Blog

What Factors Determine Child Custody in Colorado?


Child custody can be one of the most contentious and emotional issues in a divorce. Parents and children usually need an experienced Denver Child Custody Attorney to help them negotiate an arrangement that meets the needs of the child and parents.  Divorce can take a significant emotional toll on a child and the parents.  A solid custody arrangement that is drafted by a skilled Denver Child Custody Attorney will minimize the stress on both the child and the parents. It will also allow each parent to provide the best care he or she can for the child.  At Divorce Matters, we will make sure that each parenting plan we draft will be done in a manner  that works best for you and your children.

Under Colorado Law, child custody is broken into two parts:  (1) Parenting Time;  and (2) Decision Making.

Parenting Time:  Parenting Time is the amount of time the children will spend with each parent.  For example, parenting time might have the children spending 60% of their time living with one parent and 40% of their time living with the other parent.  Parenting time will also allocate how vacations and holidays will be spent with each parent.

If the parents cannot agree on parenting time, the court will have to determine the proper parenting time for the children.  In determining a proper parenting time, the court will adopt a parenting plan that the Judge thinks is in the best interests of the children.

Decision Making: Decision Making involves how decisions affecting the raising of each child will be made.  Decisions regarding the raising of each child include, but are not limited to, issues involving medical care, schooling, religion, sports, camp, and other extra-curricular activities.

If decision making is allocated to both parents, then both parents have to agree in order to make these decisions.  It is important that your attorney seriously look at how decision making will be allocated and for which decisions.   Most judges will split decision making and grant “joint” decision making.   However, when joint decision making is granted and the parents cannot agree on issues such as sports, camp, religion, medical care, or schooling, decision making can become a serious problem for many divorced couples; especially those in which one parent withholds their approval merely to control an ex-spouse.  In essence, joint decision making can grant an over controlling parent the right to harass and ex-spouse by withholding approval of almost every decision of the other parent.   So, make sure you attorney understands these potential difficulties when determining whether joint decision making is proper in your case.

Not all Denver divorce and Denver child custody attorneys are created equal, so choose your attorney carefully.