If you are thinking about divorce or you have already begun the process, it's safe to say that you no longer feel the same way about your spouse as you once did. However, if you and your spouse have children together, you undoubtedly still want to raise your children to be happy and secure people, although you may have concerns about how this can work.
The hope is that parents will be able to work together to raise their children, even if the marriage is over. The courts in Colorado recognize parental responsibilities and the best interests of the child as the core elements to consider in child custody decisions.
How the courts award parenting time
Parenting time can run the gamut from sole custody to a 50-50 split. Some of the factors on which parenting time allocations are based include:
- Mental and physical health of parent and child
- Physical distance between parents' residences
- Wishes of the parents and the child
- Child's adjustment to home and school
- Past involvement of parents
- Each parent's ability to prioritize child's needs
- Any evidence of a history of abuse
When deciding who has the right to make decisions regarding the child, a judge will consider how well the parents are able to work together. The judge will also look for evidence that a parent is capable of having a positive relationship with his or her child.
Choose your own co-parenting path
In many cases, parents are able to agree on a parenting plan and schedule without having to litigate matters. Following this path can keep you out of court and may lay the groundwork for a more harmonious relationship in the future. Instead of gathering evidence to present in court, co-parents agree to make plans for their own family together.
A judge must approve any plan you create before it becomes legally binding. In reviewing the proposed agreement, the judge will want to know that certain key areas are covered, such as:
- Location of residences
- Parental time allotted to each parent
- Whether the parents agree on religious upbringing
- Financial provisions
- Plans for holidays
- Education and health care for the child
How can a family law attorney help?
Making decisions for the future of your family when your marriage is ending is not an easy task. It may be difficult to remove harsh emotions from the equation. Additionally, you and the other parent may be unclear as to what should be in the plan or how best to arrive at certain decisions.
These are sensitive and important matters, and you want to do it right the first time to avoid unnecessary headaches and heartaches in the future. By working with an experienced family lawyer who has helped many parents before, you can ensure that your parental rights and the well-being of your child are protected now and in the future.