4 things to understand about child custody in Colorado

Child custody can be one of the most emotional parts of managing a divorce. Additionally, it is a high priority part of a divorce because it directly affects the child’s welfare.

Understanding the process for child custody can help parents avoid surprises along the way.

Parental responsibility

Instead of the terminology “sole custody” and “joint custody,” Colorado refers to custody as parental responsibility. Shared parental responsibility or primary parental responsibility are the two possible outcomes. Courts generally only award primary parental responsibility in extreme cases.

Physical and legal custody

In Colorado, parents usually share legal custody equally, giving each parent the same right to make decisions about the child’s welfare and environment. This is different from physical custody, which refers to the time spent by the child with each parent. Physical custody may not be equal.

Residential decision

There is no age requirement for how old a child must be to contribute to a decision regarding which parent he or she will primarily live with. The child’s arguments about living arrangements will affect the decision if the child shows a high degree of maturity and makes an intelligent case.

Child support and visitation

The determinations for child support and visitation are two separate issues. One parent cannot disobey the visitation decision by restricting the other parent’s visitation rights because of unpaid child support.

Courts do not typically make substantial changes to a custody agreement after issuing the original order. This makes presenting a solid case from the beginning pivotal to a well-decided custody arrangement.