One of the most common phrases we hear from parents is “I just want what is best for my kids.” This saying, while true, can become a difficult balancing act when parents are at odds with each other. Acting in the best interests of the child can become even more blurred when dealing with child custody.
In Colorado child custody matters, parents generally have some basic rights which include the right to physically spend time with their child and the right to make major decisions about the child’s health, education, and religious upbringing. However, the allocation of parenting responsibilities and parenting time must be balanced with the child’s best interest. A child’s best interest is generally determined on a case-by-case basis through a judicial officer’s analysis of a list of factors that have been codified by statute.
While courts generally promote a child’s relationship with both parents, a parent’s rights may be limited based on a parent’s ability to maintain legal responsibilities for their children. Ultimately, Colorado law requires that a child’s physical and emotional safety be treated as paramount. The following constitutes some of the reasons a court may limit a parent’s parenting time or decision-making abilities:
1. Substance Abuse Issues
2. Domestic Violence/sexual assault
3. Refusal to Communicate
4. Refusal to Co-Parent
5. Refusal to Promote a Relationship with the Other Parent
6. Refusal to Allow the Child to Receive Necessary Medical and Mental Health Treatment
7. Refusal of a Parent to Place the Needs of the Child Ahead of Their Own
As much as a parent has certain rights, parenting and raising a child is very much a privilege. The courts tend to take the above issues very seriously and will certainly limit a parent’s rights when they are contrary to a child’s best interests. While co-parenting relationships can be difficult to navigate and oftentimes frustrating, putting your child’s interests before your own will allow your child to thrive as they develop and will help keep the court from making crucial decisions related to raising your child.