Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) November 30, 2012 – Numerous high-profile child custody cases across the U.S. have spurred renewed interest in how custody is determined and how it may differ from state to state.
In Colorado, there are a number of statutory factors considered by the court when determining the custody of minor children. The Colorado court system calls child custody “parental responsibility;” parental responsibility can encompass joint or primary custody.
“The Colorado courts apply several criteria when determining parental responsibility,” says Bill Thode, Denver custody attorney. “Colorado courts attempt to decide child placement and parental responsibility issues based on what it determines to be the best interests of the child, while avoiding gender bias of the parent.”
The court applies several factors to determine what is the best interests of the child, examining the child’s wishes, if old enough to express them, the parents’ wishes, the relations which the child has with each parent, the child’s living situation (including schooling, home and community), and the mental and emotional well-being of all parties.
Joint parental responsibility is usually awarded to parents where both are allowed frequent and stable contact with their child, taking into consideration whether the parents are able to work together to make joint decisions in the child’s best interest, and if the scheduling for joint custody works well for the child.
Visitation rights in Colorado are referred to as “parenting time;” parents without the primary custodial rights to their child are entitled to parenting time as determined by the court. The child is consulted, if old enough to make an informed decision, on what parenting time would be amenable. Also taken into consideration by the judge are the child’s siblings and the geographical proximity of both parents. Third parties such as grandparents do not generally have automatic visitation rights.
Parents must submit a parenting plan to the court which allocates each parent’s time with their child, including holidays, school breaks and other times as a requirement. Allocation of child support is only partially determined by which parent has the majority of time with the child. Additional factors include each parent’s gross monthly income and other expenses.
Thode Law Firm, P.C.
201 Steele Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80206
Call: (303) 330-0425