Making the Best Decision for a Child
Determining custody (known as parental responsibility) in Colorado can be difficult and tiresome for the people involved. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement for parenting time and decision-making, then the court will hear your case and make a determination for you. To ease a judge in their decision-making, Colorado law provides several guidelines that go into a custody decision. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Keys to Keep in Mind
Before going through the factors, it is important to note that these factors primarily relate to the allocation of parenting time. Legal decision-making is not usually determined by these factors. The below factors often refer to a physical location and, therefore, are more closely tied to assigning parenting time.
In addition, each of these factors is used to determine the ultimate key to determining parental responsibility: the best interest of a child. Any determination made by the court must be done to meet a child’s best interests.
The Wishes of the Child
If the child in question is old enough and displays enough maturity to express an informed opinion on parenting time, then this could play into a judge’s final decision. This factor is typically not reserved for younger children.
One key factor that determines final parental responsibility is the relationship that the child shares with each parent, sibling, or any other person that has some level of impact on the child’s best interests. This could be grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, or others.
How the Child Adjusts
Courts often pay attention to how the child performs at home, school, and elsewhere. How they behave when they are with which parent could have an impact on which parent receives larger shares of parental responsibility, including physical custody.
Mental and Physical Health
If someone is not of sound mind to make informed decisions or is physically unable to fully provide for a child’s needs, then that status can influence a final parental responsibility determination. Similarly, if the child has any physical or mental disabilities, the ability of each parent to care for those unique needs can also influence the decision.
Note that disability alone should not influence a decision. This can be used in conjunction with other factors when making a determination.
Ability to Encourage Relationships
It is important that each parent be willing to encourage the child to have a good relationship with the other parent, as studies have shown that children do best when given a chance to foster a relationship with two parents. If a judge has evidence that one parent will likely discourage a child from spending any quality time with the other parent, then it is likely that the badmouthing parent will not be awarded a typical share of parenting time.
Part of determining parental responsibility is how each parent has demonstrated a commitment to values and support for the child. It is important for a child to grow up in a home with solid family values and a commitment to quality interactions with parents.
Often parents will have to switch who has parenting time with a child on given days based on a schedule. How close the parents live to one another could influence how much time and on what days a parent has with a child.
It is a normal part of being a parent to make a sacrifice of your own wants for the sake of the wants and needs of your child. A judge may look more favorably on a parent who is more willing to put the child’s needs ahead of their own.
Use the Help of a Denver Custody Attorney
Child custody cases are often difficult to work through, especially when litigation is involved. It is important to have the right custody attorney on your side to assist you throughout your case. Denver Family Lawyers is here to help you. We want to help you fight for your right to spend time with your child.
To set up a consultation, call us at (303) 225-3343 or visit us online.