Do you feel as though you tried everything to work out a custody arrangement with the other parent? Were you unable to reach an acceptable compromise? Are you now facing an impasse that means that you and the other parent will need to rely on the court to make a decision for you?
Not every Colorado couple can work out their custody issues without help from the court, and that’s okay. The courts are there to help when parents can’t agree. Whether you seek joint custody or sole custody, the court will keep the best interests of the children in mind when making a decision. In order to determine what that means for your children, the court will need to know a few things about you and the other parent.
What’s your custody preference?
The court will want to know what type of custody arrangement each of you would prefer and why. Most courts tend to favor a joint custody arrangement since it allows the children to have substantial contact with each parent. If you prefer to have sole custody of your children, you will need to tell the court why and more than likely provide evidence to substantiate your request.
What are you doing right now?
The court will more than likely want to know how you are handling custody and visitation at present (in the absence of a court order). Is this arrangement working? Are there only aspects of it that aren’t working? In many cases, the court won’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. Only those points of contention between the parties may require addressing.
What is communication like?
Are you and the other parent able to communicate effectively about the children? The court needs to know whether the two of you can work together to ensure that the children’s needs are met on a daily basis. For a joint custody arrangement, each parent needs to be actively involved in the children’s lives. You don’t have to be best friends with your ex, but you do have to be able to get along enough to remain involved and loving parents.
What does your financial situation look like?
The court needs to ensure that you can adequately provide for the children financially. You aren’t expected to be able to pay for expensive vacations and designer clothes, but you should be able to put a roof over your children’s heads and feed them. In addition, the court may determine child support at this hearing once a custody arrangement is ordered. You should bring whatever information accurately explains your current financial situation.
What would be the best evidence to bring to the hearing?
That depends on your situation. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this process alone. It may help to consult with an attorney who is experienced in child custody hearings here in Colorado.