INTRODUCTION

Each case involving children is delicately processed and handled to best fit the needs of the child. To maintain safe, clean, and loving environments for our next generation.  

Colorado’s Family Court

In 1999 the Colorado Family Court changed the name child custody to parental responsibilities. The parental responsibilities are determined by the best interests of the child. No gender bias is to play a role in any ruling by a judge. The factors that are carefully weighed are: The wishes of the child, the parents, emotional bonds, the child’s ability to adapt to a new environment, and any siblings present. In most cases the custody is awarded to the parent in which the child spends the most time with or to whom they live with.

Custody

Different types of custody exist such as legal, physical, joint, or split. A physical custody is that to whom the child resides with, although both parents would share legal custody. Legal custody gives the parents rights to make decisions for the child on religion, health care, education, or in cases of emergency. Another way both parents can share rights to their child is with joint custody. The child then spends equal amounts of time with both parents as to eliminate one or the other having physical custody. This arrangements good communication and a willingness to work together from both parties. Split custody is a very unfavorable option for the children as is divides siblings to one parent or the other giving each parent full custody of one of their multiple children. Separating siblings is not usually in the best interest of the children. In cases of unmarried paternal parents the mother is normally awarded custody unless the father takes action. An unwed father must demonstrate his interest to his children. The judge will have to take all things into consideration before awarding custody to either parent, relative, or even a prospecting adoptive family.  

 

  • The “wishes” of the child

 

If a child is old enough to voice an opinion it will be heard. At a certain age they are able to express a preference or concern.

 

  • Mental and physical health of the parent

 

If a parent has serious health concerns or been diagnosed with a mental illness that could put a child in danger that parent may not be able to obtain physical custody. Supervised visits could still be arranged.

 

  • Religion or cultural considerations

 

The judge will perform their duty without bias and do what is best for the child. A family may have wishes or preference based on a belief system.

 

  • A Stable environment

 

A parent with a house or stable job may be favorable over a parent who changes jobs frequently or moves from place to place.

 

  • Support and interactions with extended family

 

It is ideal for a child to remain in contact with those who were a large part of their life before. Grandparents of both sides of the family, aunts and uncles, cousins, or half siblings can be a great support system.

 

  • Adjustment to new school or home

 

Some children may have trouble with change such as an individual with Autism or other developmental challenges. Each child will be carefully looked at and the plan will be based off of their individual needs.  

 

  • Forms of abuse

 

Children will not be placed in a home that could be potentially dangerous to them physically or mentally. Any records of abuse will be thoroughly looked at as well as if that parent is receiving any form of court ordered treatment or voluntary classes to better themselves for the child.  

 

Parents also have the right to appeal visitation or have parenting plans changed. Mediated gatherings can be helpful in situations of disgruntled families, or if tensions arise. People don’t always see eye to eye making decisions for the welfare of their children. In cases where one parent is paying child support, that individual may lose visitation or have driving privileges revoked by the state. Many cases of parental rights end up with a paternal parent paying child support, which is income based. Also in many situations the paternity of the child must be determined through a DNA test. If paternity is confirmed child support is to be paid to the parent with physical custody. Child support is to be spent on the needs of the child such as food, clothing, health care costs, or educational fees. Some cases involving neglect or abuse may lead to a relative gaining physical custody over the parents. Substance abuse gone without treatment may also lead to termination of parental rights.