Englewood Child Custody Lawyer
Protecting Your Rights and Child’s Best Interests
The Harris Law Firm is a Best Law Firms® Tier 1-rated Family Law practice with a legacy for providing experienced and compassionate representation to parents in a range of child custody matters.
Whether you’re looking to resolve issues of parenting time in a divorce or need to address other issues involving children in a stand-alone custody case, our Englewood child custody attorneys have the insight and resources to help. We’re backed by over 250 years of combined experience and place an emphasis on protecting the children while helping parents advocate for their rights and interests.
If you have questions about a child custody case anywhere in Arapahoe County or the surrounding areas of Colorado, we want to help. Contact us online or call (303) 622-5502 to request an initial consultation.
Our Child Custody Services
The Harris Law Firm is trusted by clients and colleagues across Colorado to handle all types of custody-related cases. This includes representation in matters involving:
- Child custody in divorce
- Child custody with unmarried parents
- Child custody modifications
- Enforcement of existing custody orders
- Custody modifications
- Parental Relocation
- Child Support
- Adoption and Stepparent Adoption
- Domestic violence and protection orders
What is Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?
In Colorado, “allocation of parental responsibilities” is the term used for child custody. While it’s called something different here, child custody in Colorado still deals with two primary issues:
- Parenting time, which addresses the amount of time each parent has physical possession of the child. Many states refer to this as “physical custody.”
- Decision-making responsibility, which gives a parent the right to make important life decisions on behalf of their child, including decisions about their health care, education, religious upbringing, and more. Other states call this “legal custody,” and most Colorado cases involved shared decision-making authority.
How is Parenting Time Split in Colorado?
Both parenting time and decision-making authority can be resolved mutually exclusive of one another, and in a variety of different ways, depending on the circumstances and the needs and desires of the parties involved.
However, there are some key issues parents must address when it comes to splitting parenting time, and some important considerations to take into account. For example:
- Parents have the power to arrive at a parenting time agreement on their own through communication, collaboration, and compromise. When parents reach their own agreements out of court (often with the help of a lawyer), they can then present the plans to a family Judge for approval. This can save considerable time, expense, and frustration.
- Parents who have difficulties coming to an agreement about parenting time may be ordered by a family court to attend mediation, where a neutral party will try to help them compromise. If there is still no agreement, a contested hearing will take place for a family Judge to hear evidence and testimony and issue a decision. Custody hearings can make for drawn-out, costly, and contentious legal battles that can cause a great deal of headache and introduce more potential for unsatisfactory outcomes. High conflict cases can also be more difficult for children.
- It is common for parenting time arrangements to give one parent more time with a child (primary physical custody) and the other with less time (visitation), often because there are practical concerns with shared, 50-50 custody arrangements that many families find challenging.
Parenting time is an issue with the greatest potential for causing conflict in divorce and custody proceedings. At The Harris Law Firm, we speak with clients at length about their goals and expectations and take the time to explore the various strategies they can take to achieve them.
Factors Courts Consider in CO Custody Cases
Family courts have the power to approve or deny custody agreements devised by parents or to issue their own decisions when parents are unable to reach agreements on their own.
In either situation, the Court will prioritize arrangements that allow for both parents to be involved in the child’s life and work to ensure that agreements are in the best interests of the child. To do this, the Court will consider several factors, including:
- Each parent’s wishes.
- The wishes of the child if they are old and/or mature enough to decide independently.
- The nature of a child’s relationships with parents, other relatives, and caregivers.
- The mental and physical health of both parents.
- The mental and physical health of the child.
- Each parent’s history of parenting.
- Proximity, meaning where each parent is located and the distances a child must travel to be with each one.
- Each parent’s ability to encourage the other parent’s relationship with the child.
Striking a balance between these sometimes-conflicting factors is no easy task, which is why it is strongly preferred for parents to reach agreements on their own.
At The Harris Law Firm, we leverage extensive experience with negotiations, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution to help parents overcome disagreements and find ways to compromise, when possible, on parenting plans and other important custody issues. When the circumstances require us to litigate, we work diligently to gather evidence and prepare our clients for hearings where we strongly state their case before the court.
Can I Change a Child Custody Order?
It is possible to change an existing child custody order, but parents who seek custody modifications will need to provide sufficient justification to the Court. While every case is different, Colorado family courts tend to approve modifications to parenting time and decision-making authority in cases involving:
- Injuries, illnesses, or mental health issues involving either parent or the child.
- Changes in employment, job loss, or financial stability.
- New living arrangements, including changes involving new relationships, marriages, or household members.
- Parental relocation (i.e. a parent moving out of state or country).
- A parent’s criminal activity, conviction, or incarceration.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Domestic violence.
Why Choose Our Englewood Child Custody Lawyers?
The Harris Law Firm is one of Colorado’s largest and most respected family law practices and is trusted by clients and colleagues across the state to handle the toughest cases. If you have a potential custody case in Arapahoe County, there are plenty of reasons why choosing our firm is the right choice.
- We put children first. The Harris Law is truly passionate about protecting children who find themselves facing divorce, custody disputes, and other matters in the legal system. Whether we’re advising a parent about their rights and options for structuring sensible parenting time agreements or counseling victims of domestic violence on ways to best protect their little ones, we always focus on the best interests of children.
- Extensive experience. Backed by over 250 years of collective experience, our attorneys bring unique backgrounds and insight to the handling of custody-related cases. This includes previous work as Guardian-ad-Litems, backgrounds in child psychology, and extensive experience handling custody cases in family courts across Colorado.
- Comprehensive representation. Thanks to our legal team’s breadth of experience, we’re equipped to handle various custody-related matters, including complex and consequential issues involving domestic violence, domestic and foreign parental relocation, guardianship, and more.
- Client-focused service. We know parents and guardians come to us in trying times, which is why we work diligently to ease their concerns by educating them about their rights and thoroughly explaining what they can expect. We’re accessible, easy to contact, and available for our clients throughout every stage of their legal journeys.
Call to Request a Consultation: (303) 622-5502
Child custody cases are primed for conflict and emotional turbulence, but being able to control your emotions and remain reasonable as you navigate the process can go a long way in promoting efficiency and outcomes that ensure your rights and your child’s best interests are protected.
At The Harris Law Firm, we know the stakes in child custody cases and devote the necessary time and resources into helping parents and guardians position themselves for favorable resolutions. If you have questions about a case anywhere in Arapahoe County or the state of Colorado, our Englewood custody attorneys want to help.
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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