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What does it mean to have "legal custody" of children?

Divorce can be hard on everyone in an affected family, from the parents who choose to end their marital relationship to the children who must learn to live in a new and unfamiliar arrangement. When Colorado residents think of custody after a divorce they may immediately focus on physical custody, which addresses with which parent a child will reside. Physical custody is an incredibly important consideration and if the parents cannot decide how best to care for their children in their post-divorce lives the family law court will issue an order that protects the children's best interests.

In addition to physical custody, but no less important, is "legal custody." A parent with legal custody of their child has the right to make important decisions about how the child will be raised. In Colorado, parents can share legal custody of their kids after a divorce, which then requires them to work together to make positive choices for their children. If a parent is unfit to hold this responsibility a court may allow the other parent to have sole legal custody of the children.

Topics of importance over which a parent with legal custody of their kids may have control can include, but are not limited to: education; religion; and healthcare. If a parent with legal custody believes a child will benefit from changing schools or participating in a new activity, then they have the right to voice their preferences for such conduct. If a parent lacks legal custody they may not have the power to stop the other parent from making child-rearing choices with which they do not agree.

Legal custody is an important responsibility for parents in Colorado in their post-divorce lives. Although many individuals focus on where their kids will live and when they will have visitation time, parents with legal custody of their children have an opportunity to take active roles in the development and upbringing of their kids.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
1820 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Phone: 719-362-5113
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