Colorado courts use several factors when determining child custody or parental responsibilities. The court will determine parental responsibilities according to the child’s best interests. In addition, know that the courts don’t discriminate against the gender of the parents.
Joint and Sole Parental Responsibilities
In general, Colorado judges lean towards awarding joint parental responsibilities or joint legal custody. This means both parents will share responsibility when it comes to making crucial decisions for their child — educational and health considerations, among others.
However, joint physical parental responsibilities are not easily implemented due to a variety of reasons, such as when parents reside in different states. Because of this, one parent usually maintains primary or sole physical parental responsibility, with the other parent given significant visitation rights or parenting time.
Note that it’s rare for a judge to award sole legal and physical parental responsibilities; however, there are exceptions when severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse is a factor. The same goes if the child has witnessed domestic violence. In cases like these, it is crucial to have help from an experienced child custody lawyer to ensure the best arrangement.
The Child’s Wishes
Judges will take into account the wishes of the child when determining arrangements for parental responsibilities. The judge will discuss with children mature enough or capable of having an independent opinion.
Unlike in other states, child custody lawyers in Colorado Springs say the laws don’t impose a specific age at which judges should honor the wishes of a child. It is ultimately the judge who will decide the final arrangements.
While divorce is understandably stressful and emotionally draining for you and your spouse, remember that your child is feeling all those things, too — sometimes even more severely. It’s the responsibility of the court to ensure your child gets the best possible emotional and physical care to get through the divorce unscathed.