When dealing with divorce or separation, one of the most crucial aspects that parents must navigate is child custody. In Colorado, as in many other states, the guiding principle for any decisions regarding child custody is the “best interests of the child.”
This article will provide an overview of the types of child custody arrangements in Colorado to help you understand what might be most appropriate for your family.
1. Legal Custody
Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions about your child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, religion, and other important life aspects. In Colorado, courts often award joint legal custody, meaning that both parents share decision-making responsibilities unless it is found detrimental to the child.
2. Physical Custody
Physical custody refers to where the child lives. One parent may be awarded primary physical custody, with the child residing mainly at one location, or parents might share joint physical custody, where the child spends significant time at both parents’ residences.
3. Joint Custody
Joint custody (both legal and physical) is encouraged in Colorado, as long as it is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody enables both parents to share decision-making responsibilities and play an active role in their child’s life. However, this arrangement requires effective communication and cooperation between parents.
4. Sole Custody
Sole custody, where one parent has exclusive legal and physical custody, is less common and typically only awarded if one parent is deemed unfit due to factors like abuse, neglect, or substance addiction. In these cases, the noncustodial parent may still have visitation rights, which could be supervised, depending on the situation.
5. Split Custody
In families with multiple children, split custody may occur, though it is not common. This arrangement involves one parent having full custody of some children, and the other parent having full custody of the others.
6. Parenting Time (Visitation)
In most cases where one parent is granted primary physical custody, the other parent is allowed parenting time or visitation rights. Colorado courts generally believe it’s in the child’s best interest to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, so long as it’s safe and healthy.
An Ally in Your Corner
Understanding the types of child custody arrangements in Colorado is an important step toward navigating the process of divorce or separation. It’s important to remember that all families and circumstances are unique.
The most appropriate custody arrangement will depend on the specific dynamics and needs of your family.
As you navigate the complex waters of child custody, having the guidance of an experienced family law attorney can be invaluable. If you need assistance with Colorado child custody arrangements, the Baker Law Group is here to help.
Our dedicated Denver family lawyers are ready to protect your rights and help secure the best possible outcome for you and your children.