You know your child better than anyone and may have strong feelings about who should maintain custody. A child custody lawyer can advocate for you to the Denver court and emphasize that the child’s best interest lies in granting you custody.
A family law attorney like Michael Fayard will support you through each step of the process and help you get the results you deserve when it comes to custody of your child.
In Colorado, child custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibilities and is split into two areas: allocation of parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.
Parenting time is also known as physical custody, as it refers to the time that a child is physically present with a parent.
Decision-making responsibilities refer to legal custody, where parents have the right to make decisions in their child’s upbringing regarding aspects such as their education, healthcare, and religion.
Colorado does not define joint or sole custody arrangements. Instead, the state acknowledges parental responsibility as either primary or joint among parents.
If one parent has less than 90 overnight visits per year with their child, then the other parent has primary parental responsibility.
If both parents have an equal number of overnight visits, they share joint parental responsibility.
Parenting time and residential responsibility is decided separately from decision-making responsibility. Sole custody and decision-making responsibility is granted in few cases under unique circumstances such as if one parent is guilty of physical or emotional abuse of the child.
This general process for how the Colorado Judicial Branch allocates parental rights is illustrated here.
Colorado typically grants shared parental responsibilities as close to 50/50 as possible. If you and your former partner can reach an agreement regarding custody, visitation, and decision-making responsibilities outside of court, you can jointly submit a parenting plan form outlining the details of your decision and allocation of responsibilities.
Any other aspects of parental responsibility that can’t be agreed upon by you and your partner will be decided by the court. The court will decide in what it views as the child’s best interest based on factors such as:
Client had joint custody with her child’s father. Child’s father filed a custody action seeking emergency pick-up and change of custody by filing falsified UCCJEA affidavits and petitions in a court that was not the home state of the child. Michael filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction (subject matter and personal). Child’s father dismissed the case to avoid sanctions and attorney’s fees. Client retained full custody of her minor child.
Michael represented a client that sought to have child support increased from her former husband that had a substantial increase in his income, which he hid from the court during the proceedings. He filed a motion of modification of child support and I was able to increase the client’s monthly child support by 60%. Case completed within one month of being retained.
In some cases, custody agreements established by the court can be modified through a process outlined by the Colorado court system. A parent might seek to change the agreement if there is a change in need regarding the child’s emotional, academic, or physical wellbeing.
The parent petitioning for modification of the agreement must submit several forms, pay filing fees of at least $105, and prove how changing the agreement would benefit the child.
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Here are some common questions from parents seeking custody of their children:
The best option regarding custody of your child is to come to an agreement with your partner. The more you can agree on how to split visitation and decision-making responsibilities, the easier the process will be. But in some circumstances or high conflict situations, the court will evaluate all aspects of each parent’s abilities and the child’s needs to make a decision.
You can’t move out of state while your divorce is pending, but you may be able to after the proceedings are finalized. If you wish to relocate to another state with your children, you must notify the other parent in writing about your intent to move. If the other parent consents to your relocation, you can move and adjust the custody agreement as necessary.
If the other parent objects to your intent to move, the court will schedule a relocation hearing where you will have to prove that relocating is in your child’s best interest.
The final determination for parental responsibility will be made at the conclusion of your divorce. During the process, however, you may create a temporary order to continue spending time with your child while the case is pending.
Children can express their wishes regarding custody and visitation, but the court may not necessarily decide in accordance with their preference. The court will consider the child’s desires when deciding residency and parental responsibilities, but it is only one of many factors taken into account.
Although you might have a firm opinion about where your child lives, go to school, and other important decisions you need help to articulate your feelings in court. There are several forms and court documents you must submit during divorce and allocation of parental rights, and a mistake on any one of them can drag out the proceedings and keep you from spending as much time with your children as you’d like.
Attorney Michael Fayard knows that every divorce and child custody case is different, and his background in these cases can help you achieve the outcome you want. Attorney Fayard is in your corner to negotiate with the court and other parties involved when it comes to your child’s upbringing and decision-making responsibilities.