Misinformation about divorce and child custody proceedings is everywhere. These myths spread through the media and stories told by those who exaggerate their own experiences. Quite a few people still believe common divorce myths, such as the idea that women will always have the benefit in custody proceedings.
In reality, Colorado law is gender-neutral. More importantly, the courts don't give preferential treatment to either parent. Instead, the focus of the courts in any custody deliberations must always be the best interest of the children involved.
When the Colorado courts must make determinations about parental responsibilities and rights, they do so in order to protect the children in the family, not the rights of the parents. Understanding that fact and how the courts handle custody can help adjust your expectations for your upcoming divorce.
Colorado no longer uses the word custody in divorces
The word custody has a quiet undertone of ownership. It is also associated with contentious, drawn-out battles in court. Thankfully, Colorado is one of several states that no longer refers to the custody of minor children in divorces. Instead, they focus on the careful allocation of both parenting time and the responsibility to make decisions for the children.
Parents seeking a continued legal relationship with their children in divorce will typically request a fair share of both parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. There is also an obligation to provide social and financial support for the children which the courts must also split between parents.
Parenting time involves both active time with your child and times when you are responsible for the child, such as when they are at school. Decision-making responsibilities can involve anything from where they attend school to the medical care that they receive. Support can range from paying for housing and clothing to providing child support to your ex to cover those expenses.
Sharing responsibilities is the preferred outcome in Colorado divorces
Having a good relationship with both parents is the best outcome for children in a divorce. It should come as little surprise then that Colorado courts prefer co-parenting relationships over either parent receiving sole custody. If you feel compelled to push for sole custody, you should ask yourself whether you are doing so for the sake of your children or because you want to feel victorious in the divorce.
In situations where you truly fear for the safety or well-being of your children in the care of your ex, you may be able to seek sole custody. Issues such as addiction and abuse can influence the courts to give one parent sole custody.
Discussing your family situation with a Colorado attorney is a great way to start strategizing for your upcoming divorce.