Like most Colorado parents, you and your children have good days and bad days. In fact, sometimes one or the other extends into weeks or months, depending on your current circumstances. When you told your kids you were getting divorced, you worried you’d be in for more of the latter; however, you were determined to do your best to let your kids know you love them and would be there to help them adjust to a new lifestyle.
What you were most worried about was child custody issues as your spouse made it clear you’d be in for a fight. While you wish you could simply get together and draft an agreeable parenting plan, you also don’t want to get the short end of the stick concerning custody and support-related issues. If you know how to protect your rights and your children’s best interests and understand Colorado custody regulations, you can be confident that your ultimate outcome will be successful.
Arm yourself with information
Navigating the family law system, especially regarding custody issues, can be challenging and stressful. By researching laws ahead of time, you can prepare yourself for what lies ahead. The following list shares basic Colorado child custody information:
- Unless the court finds specific reason to do so, it is not likely it will grant sole physical or legal custody to you in this state. There are rare situations, however, where the court determines someone unfit to parent or finds that a parent is abusive or has a substance abuse problem that places children at risk. In such cases, the court may hand down a sole custody ruling.
- In Colorado, grandparents have visitation rights.
- What the court grants grandparents may never undermine a parent’s right to raise his or her children.
- The Colorado court generally believes shared custody situations are best. Studies show children fare better in divorce when they have ample time with both parents. The court bases its final decisions on children’s best interests and other guidelines.
- Contrary to days of old, the court does not automatically assume children are best off living with their mothers.
The point of child custody proceedings is to develop fair parenting plans that focus on the children’s best interests and protect the rights of the parents involved. Although parents must adhere to an existing court order, a parent may also petition the court for modification of an existing order if the need arises.