If you and your spouse file for a divorce in a Colorado court, as parents, you must devise a plan regarding various issues that are relevant to the care and needs of your children. Whether you have had time to think about such things because you’ve known that your marriage was heading for a breakup, or you experienced an unexpected event that compelled you to file a petition, either way, you and your co-parent must execute a child custody agreement.
A family court judge can make such decisions on your behalf if you and your ex are unable to achieve a fair and agreeable plan. If you can discuss child-related issues in an amicable fashion, you might be able to write out the terms, then seek the court’s approval. If you are thinking about requesting sole legal child custody, it is helpful to prepare by considering both the benefits and possible downsides.
Legal child custody refers to decision-making authority
Even if you and your ex share physical child custody, meaning that your children rotate between your two households as their residence, you do not necessarily have to share legal custody. Legal child custody refers to authority to make decisions on behalf of your children. If you have sole custody in this way, you do not have to consult your ex before making decisions regarding health, education, faith or other important issues.
Sole legal custody has its benefits
The following list includes numerous benefits you might experience if the court grants you sole legal custody of your kids in a divorce:
- If you and your ex tend to bicker over child-related matters, gaining sole legal custody would, perhaps, help avoid that because you would not have to discuss everything with him or her ahead of time.
- Having one parent with legal custody might make daily life less stressful for your children after divorce because they understand which parent is the decision-maker.
- If your ex is unfit, having sole legal custody can help keep your children safe.
Possible downsides include feeling overwhelmed or stressed because all decisions would be your responsibility. Another potential downfall is that a parent without legal custody might become resentful toward the parent who has it, which can create problems between the adults, as well as in the non-custodial parent’s relationship with his or her children.
There are many legitimate reasons for seeking sole legal custody
As mentioned earlier, if you believe that your ex is unfit because he or she has a substance abuse problem or is mentally unstable, etc., these types of issues constitute just cause for seeking sole legal child custody and physical custody, as well. If your children are going to live with you in a state that is far away from where their other parent lives, this might also be a good reason to request sole decision-making authority after your divorce.
If you’re unsure whether seeking sole legal child custody is the best course of action in your divorce case, it may be helpful to seek guidance and support from someone who understands the family court system, including what Colorado custody guidelines are regarding such issues.