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Boulder Child Custody Lawyer

Protect Your Parental Rights with Experienced Custody Attorneys

Whether you’re navigating a divorce or a stand-alone custody case, protecting your children is a top priority. Unfortunately, legal matters involving children can make for stressful and contentious experiences, especially when parents can’t come to an agreement.

If you’re looking for legal support to navigate a child custody case in Colorado, our Boulder child custody attorneys at The Harris Law Firm want to help. 

Comprised of award-winning attorneys with over 250 years of combined experience, we’re one of Colorado’s largest and most respected family law practices. We’ve helped countless parents establish parenting time orders in divorce and stand-alone custody cases, and have extensive experience handling modifications, enforcement actions, and other complex issues involving children.  

At The Harris Law Firm, we believe in protecting the children and have the experience and resources these cases demand. If you have questions about a child custody case anywhere in Boulder County, call (303) 622-5502 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.

Child Custody Cases We Handle

As one of Colorado’s largest family law practices, The Harris Law Firm is equipped with the depth of experience to handle all types of child custody issues – be they matters arising from a divorce or stand-alone issues involving new or existing court orders.

As part of our comprehensive counsel, we provide support for:

Colorado Child Custody & Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Child custody, which is referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities in Colorado, has two primary components: parenting time and decision-making. 

Parenting Time

Parenting time, or “physical custody” as it is called in some states, determines the percentage of time a child physically lives with each parent. This will also determine important practical issues, such as where a child will attend school. This being the case, it is common for parenting time arrangements to provide one parent with more time (primary physical custody) and the other with less time (visitation), as 50-50 shared custody is often challenging for many families to effectively execute. 

Parenting time schedules can vary from case to case, and arriving at a schedule that works for you can take a lot of effort and collaboration with a co-parent. When creating a schedule, it is best to be as specific as possible, detailing the schedule, exchanges, and parenting time for holidays, vacations, and other special events. 

Parenting time has the most potential for conflict in custody cases, which is why working with an attorney can help you explore options to effectively compromise with a co-parent or pursue other resolutions. While Boulder County courts typically favor children spending time with both parents, there are cases where parenting time being awarded solely to one parent is appropriate. 

Decision-Making Responsibility

Decision-making authority or responsibility, or “legal custody” as it is commonly called in other states, gives a parent the right to make choices about important issues in their child’s life, such as their education, health care, time spent with relatives, and religious upbringing, among others.

In most Colorado custody cases, parents who can work together in the best interests of their children typically share decision-making responsibilities. In situations involving domestic violence, mental health issues, or other conflicts that prevent collaborative co-parenting, sole decision-making authority may be awarded.  

How Child Custody Works in Colorado

Whether in divorce or a stand-alone case, child custody arrangements are established only when ordered by a court. This may happen in one of two ways:

  • Parents reach an agreement about parenting time and parental responsibilities (i.e. how physical and legal custody will be shared) and present the plan to the Court, which may approve or deny the agreement. 
  • When parents are unable to agree about the division of parenting time and parental responsibilities, a hearing will take place in which the Court hears evidence from both parties and renders a decision that becomes a court order. 

Just as in a divorce, parents can avoid costly, time-consuming, and stressful litigation by working with one another to agree upon custody arrangements outside of the courtroom. This is not always an easy task, and will require co-parents to effectively communicate and compromise, often with the help of attorneys. 

In whatever way a parenting plan takes shape, there are some important things to remember when it comes to custody arrangements in Colorado. For example:

  • Two parents preferred. Colorado child custody law advocates for continued and meaningful contact between parents, especially after a divorce. This is based on research indicating that children thrive most when both parents are active and involved in their lives. Apart from situations where a parent’s conduct or living situation threatens the safety of a child, it is not reasonable in most cases for a parent to expect that they will be awarded sole custody or that they can deprive the other party of their parental rights. Colorado law also prohibits courts from presuming a parent will better serve a child’s interests because of their gender. 
  • When “bad behavior” factors in. Custody cases can be high conflict proceedings in which parents are quick to point out the other’s bad behavior. However, “bad behavior” in and of itself isn’t necessarily a reason for Courts to depart from the goal to have both parents share time and decision-making responsibility. In fact, Courts will generally only consider a parent’s “bad behavior” if it relates to parenting and their ability to provide safe conditions for a child. Some examples of issues that may be considered in child custody cases include substance abuse, domestic violence, criminal activity, and mental health issues.
  • Child’s best interests. Family Courts are tasked with the difficult job of issuing custody decisions that balance the best interests of a child with the rights of a parent. Factors considered by Colorado Courts when determining a child’s best interests include each parent’s wishes, the child’s wishes (if they can express them maturely and independently), a child’s interactions and interrelationships with parents, other relatives, or caregivers), the mental and physical health of parents and children, the history of parenting by each parent, proximity between parents’ homes, and each parent’s ability to encourage the other parent’s relationship with the child. 
  • Custody orders can be changed. Courts recognize that things change and provide an opportunity for parents to seek modifications of existing custody orders when necessary. Changes in a parent’s health, employment, or living arrangements can be valid justifications for modifying an order, as can a child’s evolving physical or emotional needs. Changes can also be sought for other purposes, such as when a parent relocates to another city, state, or even country, and in situations where there are concerns about a child’s safety. Our attorneys can evaluate your matter and whether you can pursue a custody order modification during a consultation. 
  • Mediation may be necessary. Parents who can effectively co-parent and create parenting plans can seek to have those plans approved by the Court without having to deal with drawn-out disputes. In cases where parents cannot reach agreements, the Court may require parents to attempt mediation before proceeding to a court hearing. Mediation offers a great opportunity to resolve disputes without the need for costly litigation, provided that both parties are active participants. Many of our attorneys are certified mediators with considerable experience helping clients resolve conflict through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. 

How Our Boulder Custody Attorneys Can Help

Child custody cases are some of the most complex and consequential matters in family law, and they demand the attention of experienced and attentive attorneys. At The Harris Law Firm, we strive to guide clients through the process by providing comprehensive support for issues such as:

  • Negotiating and structuring parenting plans that reflect your best interests and the best interests of your children.
  • Advocating for fair settlements in both small and large custody disputes, including those involving a child’s primary residence and holiday parenting time. 
  • Communicating with a co-parent and their counsel to arrive at agreements on parenting time, decision making, and other important custody issues.
  • Seeking modifications of existing court orders due to parental relocation (out of city, state, or country), illness or injury, changes in a child’s needs, or a parent’s criminal activity, substance abuse, or domestic abuse. 
  • Enforcing court orders regarding parenting time and decision-making responsibilities over issues of non-compliance, habitual violations, and more. 
  • Resolving issues that may arise in custody cases involving unmarried parents or relatives, including paternity, non-parent custody, grandparent visitation, and more. 
  • Guidance through the custody court process, including support during court-ordered mediation and preparation of evidence and testimony for custody hearings. 

Call Our Boulder Child Custody Attorneys Today: (303) 622-5502

The Harris Law Firm is a Best Law Firms™ rated Tier 1 Family Law practice with a legacy of helping clients across Boulder County and beyond in matters involving child custody, divorce, and more.

Backed by over 250 years of combined experience, our award-winning Boulder child custody lawyers are passionate about helping parents resolve custody issues that reflect both their rights and interests and the best  interests of their children. If you have questions about a case and how we can help, we’re ready to talk. 

Call (303) 622-5502 or contact us online to request an initial consultation with an attorney.


The Harris Law Firm Difference


Since 1993, our commitment has been to provide the best possible client outcomes through compassionate and effective representation. If you are facing a divorce or related family law matter, estate planning or tax issue, please contact our helpful, compassionate, and understanding attorneys to request a legal evaluation or you can submit your information to ask a legal question. We look forward to helping you!

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