Children are one of the primary considerations when a Colorado couple is getting a divorce. While most cases will involve the parties simply no longer being able to live together and there are relatively innocuous extenuating circumstances when determining a child's best interests, there are always unfortunate cases where an abusive parent must be considered when determining child custody and visitation. With claims of abuse of any kind, it is imperative to understand the law and how it deals with these key issues.
If there has been an allegation of abuse or the child is believed to have been conceived through sexual assault with the court having reason to believe this is accurate, it will be factored in with the child's best interests in determining parental responsibility and visitation. Should the court find that this is likely to have taken place based on the evidence, it will not be in the child's best interests to grant decision-making rights to the accused parent should the other parent object.
With domestic violence in a single act or a pattern of these acts, the court has recourse if it finds this to be accurate via a preponderance of the evidence. It can decide that it is not in the child's best interests for the child due to the parents not being able to make cooperative decisions for the child and in a way that is safe for the party that has been abused.
When there is a parenting plan, the court can limit contact between the parties; require that there be a designated setting for exchange of the child for parenting time; issue an order for supervised parenting time; order that the abusive parent not consume alcohol or controlled substances during parenting time or in the 24 hours before parenting time begins; issue an order for the child's address to be confidential; issue an order for conditions to be in place to protect the child; and order child support payments to be made through a registry.
Few family law issues are as contentious and difficult to deal with as allegations of abuse as part of child custody. For the parent and child who were allegedly abused and the accused parent, it is essential to understand how the law deals with these matters and find an appropriate resolution for the child's best interests. A law firm that specializes in all family matters from divorce to child custody to child support and more can help.