06 Mar Child Custody Lawyer Colorado Springs
In Colorado, custody is also known as “parental responsibility.”
Colorado Courts sometimes refer to custody, whether “joint” or “sole,” as parental responsibility. An experienced child custody lawyer can properly guide you through the legal requirements necessary to establish custody/parental responsibility.
How is child custody/parental responsibility determined?
The Court, pursuant to C.R.S. §14-10-124, will consider the best interests of the child(ren). These factors include the child(ren)’s wishes, the interaction and interrelationship of the child(ren) with their parents, the child(ren)’s adjustment to their home, school, and community, the parties’ mental and physical health, the ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact, past pattern of involvement, the physical proximity of the parties, and the ability of the parties to place the needs of the children ahead of his or her own needs.
What if there is already a Court Order?
Pursuant to C.R.S. §14-10-124, C.R.S. §14-10-129, and C.R.S. §14-10-131, parents may file motions to modify child custody/parental responsibility. The Court’s decision will be based on the best interests of the child(ren). In order to successfully modify child custody/parental responsibility, a parent must show that there was a voluntary change in parenting time, such that a substantial and continuing change in circumstances has occurred. For example, if a parent were previously exercising 120 overnights per year, but last year that parent only exercised 80 overnights, the other parent could file a motion to modify the child custody/parental responsibilities.
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1. At what age can a child decide which parent they want to live with?
Colorado does not have a set age requirement. Instead, the Court will consider the child’s wishes once the child is mature enough to express reasoned and independent preferences. Typically, this age is 13-14 years old; but again, there is not an age threshold.
2. Is there a preference for which parent is awarded custody?
Although not a requirement, Courts in Colorado typically prefer that parents share custody/parental responsibility. However, overnight parenting time, child endangerment, or an inability to meet the child(ren)’s needs are all factors considered by the Court when determining child custody/parental responsibility.
3. What makes an unfit parent in Colorado?
If a parent is unable to fulfill the child’s needs or have endangered the child’s physical or emotional wellbeing. Examples include, but are not limited to, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental illness.