Colorado Springs Child Custody Lawyer
Experienced Counsel to Protect Your Rights & Children’s Best Interests
Child custody cases are among the most difficult matters handled in the family court system. And because they can have a profound impact on child-parent relationships for years to come, they’re also among the most contentious.
If you have a child custody matter in the Colorado Springs area, enlisting the support of experienced counsel can make a difference when it comes to navigating your legal journey. From providing comprehensive counsel as you explore your options to aggressively representing your rights and interests, our team at The Harris Law Firm goes the extra mile to guide parents through challenging custody cases while preserving the best interests of the children involved.
The Harris Law Firm is a Best Law Firms® Tier 1-rated Family Law practice with a reputation for providing caring and compassionate representation in a range of matters involving parenting time, visitation, and other legal issues involving children. If you have questions about a case, we want to help.
Our Colorado Springs child custody lawyers proudly serve clients across El Paso County and beyond in custody matters arising from divorces and stand-alone family law cases. To speak with an attorney about your case, call (303) 622-5502 or contact us online.
Our Child Custody Services
The Harris Law Firm is equipped with the depth of experience to handle all types of custody and child-related family law matters. This includes cases involving:
- Child custody in divorce
- Child custody involving unmarried parents
- Enforcement of existing custody orders
- Custody modifications
- Parental Relocation
- Child Support
- Adoption and Stepparent Adoption
- Domestic violence and protection orders
Our team at The Harris Law Firm has extensive experience handling custody-related issues common among clients who live in the Colorado Springs area. This includes custody proceedings arising from military divorces and parenting time issues involving service members, given the region’s active military community.
How Does Child Custody Work in Colorado?
In Colorado, child custody is referred to as the “allocation of parental responsibilities.”
As in other states, custody in Colorado has two separate components that concern the physical custody of a child and the rights of parents when it comes to making life decisions. These are known as:
- Parenting time. Also called “physical custody,” parenting time refers to the amount of time a child is in the physical custody of each parent. As such, it determines where a child primarily resides and related issues such as where they will attend school. Parenting time schedules can vary depending on the circumstances and the desires of parents, but they should always be specific in how they lay out time-sharing for schedules, child hand-offs, holidays, vacations, and other special events. Parenting time is often one of the most contentious aspects of divorce and custody cases, which is why they demand the insight of attorneys who can help parents strike compromise when creating plans or provide aggressive representation before the court.
- Decision-making authority. Also known as “legal custody,” decision-making authority gives a parent the right to make important life choices for their child. This can include deciding matters about their schooling, medical care, time spent with extended family, religious affiliation, and more. In many Colorado custody cases, parents share decision-making responsibilities. But because shared decision-making authority requires effective co-parenting, parents who are unable to communicate and work together in the best interests of their child may seek sole decision-making authority.
What Does the Child’s “Best Interests” Mean?
Colorado custody cases are resolved in one of two ways:
- Parents agree upon a parenting time schedule and how to share decision-making responsibility on their own (often through negotiations facilitated by attorneys), present their plans to the Court, and receive approval. Parents who are unable to agree may attend court-ordered mediation to resolve disagreements with the help of a neutral third party and, if successful, submit those plans to the court for approval.
- When parents cannot reach an agreement about child custody, they can seek to have the Court resolve the matter for them. This involves a hearing before a Judge who weighs the evidence, testimony, and arguments of each side and renders a decision that becomes a court order.
Whether parents devise their own plans or have the Court decide for them, the Court will always consider the proposed arrangements in the context of a child’s best interests.
Generally, this is an arrangement that ensures the child will be safe and cared for and that they, when possible, can maintain relationships with both parents. More specifically, the Court will consider various factors in deciding whether a plan is in the child’s best interests. These include:
- A child’s wishes if they are old enough or mature enough to independently provide an answer.
- The wishes of each parent.
- A child’s relationships with each parent and with other family members or caregivers.
- A child’s physical and emotional needs and the physical and mental health of each parent.
- The history of parenting of each parent.
- The proximity between each parent’s home.
- Each parent’s ability to encourage the other’s relationship with the child.
Our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients structure parenting plans through negotiations and communication, mediation, and hearings before the Court. We understand what the Court looks for when reviewing proposed plans or issuing decisions in hearings and provide our clients with the insight to position themselves for favorable outcomes.
Can Child Custody Orders Be Changed?
Yes, child custody orders, whether issued as part of a divorce or its own case, can be modified by the court. However, parents seeking a modification will need to provide sufficient justification for doing so.
Some common reasons courts will approve custody modifications include:
- A parent’s injury or illness.
- A child’s injury or illness, or issues that significantly affect their needs.
- Job loss or changes in employment.
- Changes in living arrangements, including a parent’s new relationship or marriage.
- A parent relocating to another city, state, or country.
- Criminal activity, arrests, conviction, or incarceration.
- Substance abuse or domestic violence.
Our Colorado Springs Custody Attorneys Are Ready to Help
The Harris Law Firm is a nationally recognized family law practice known for providing personalized and passionate representation – particularly in cases involving children.
Backed by over two-and-a-half centuries of collective experience, we have what it takes to handle all types of custody matters – from the negotiation of parenting time, visitation, and parenting plans to custody order modification and enforcement, and more.
The Harris Law Firm supports the legal, local and international community. Through deliberate strategic giving efforts, we work together to bring strength, happiness and empowerment to Colorado and beyond. WE CARE about our role in the world around us.
We celebrate the many individual strengths that make up The Harris Law Firm team. We encourage growth while also promoting a collaborative working environment. WE CARE about our team and strive to ensure an environment of collegiality, appreciation and consistent professional development.
You come to us for guidance, support and assistance at a trying time. We take this responsibility very seriously. You deserve a high level of service and excellent legal representation. WE CARE about your challenges, solutions and process for resolution.
I AM THRILLED and relieved and so ready to move forward. Thank you, everyone, for your hard work on behalf of my sweet daughter. God bless you!!- Jeni
Sangeetha, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you did to help me get this settlement. Thank you for trying to keep the hours down on this case. You are truly more than an attorney. In this case somewhat of a super hero. Thanks again.- Mark
Thank you both for everything you have done to help me have my daughter in my life. My family and I deeply appreciate it.- Paul
We had a successful conclusion to all of our work this morning. The court commented on the fine work that had been done using a combination of the collaborative process and our independent efforts. I would like to thank the team for your patience with us through what has been a very difficult process for us both.- Mark
I am grateful that you represented me because you are smart, talented, generous and kind, and I want to thank you for being you!- Rachel
I am so grateful for your professionalism- Linda
You have helped my family so much....there are no words.- M.P.
First... let me say how MUCH I love and appreciate Peggy!- Andrea