It is not uncommon in a Colorado divorce for there to be contentious disagreements about the case. This can be over many issues. One of the most difficult matters to navigate is child custody. Dealing with children is emotional and parents will frequently want to have the bulk of the responsibility and time with the child. However, the parents' interests are secondary to the child's best interests. Understanding how state law addresses parental responsibility, shared responsibility, joint custody and any other child-related issue that comes up is critical to a case.
Child custody is no longer referred to as "custody." The state has switched to "parental responsibilities." Of course, it means that the child's main residence, how the big decisions such as education and health are made, and how visitation will be handled are the key factors in a case. The parents' desires and the child's desires - if he or she is old enough to intelligently and maturely provide an opinion - will all be considered. Gender will not be factored in even though there is a perception that custody will overwhelmingly go to the mother.
Judges will prefer that the parents share parental responsibilities. It can be hard to have a full 50-50 split in where the child stays. That means one parent will have the primary responsibilities to care for the child with the other parent receiving visitation rights (also known as parenting time). The circumstances will dictate how this is done and every case will be judged on its own merits. It is rare that one parent will be granted sole physical and legal custody, but if there is abuse in the relationship or the child will be better-served to be with one parent, it can be done. If there is domestic violence alleged, it does not need to be proven by anything more than a preponderance of the evidence to be used in the decision.
One factor that should not be ignored is that it is smart to have legal assistance when there is a child custody disagreement. A lawyer who is experienced in all areas of family law from divorce to child support to child custody should be contacted from the start so the parents understand all aspects of the case and will act accordingly and in the child's best interests.