Experienced Lawyers Can Help Provide Stability to Your Child
Child custody is perhaps the most contested element of any divorce proceeding, as well it should be—it decides how parents will raise their child and can determine a child’s well-being for the rest of their life. Learn more about Colorado child custody laws below.
The Harris Law Firm takes this very seriously, so we prioritize the child’s emotional health in every child custody case. We know the deep emotional needs a family has. Our highly-skilled family law attorneys provide creative solutions that can build something new and beneficial out of your current family situation.
When we work with clients on child custody agreements, we fight for the benefit of the child and the family as a whole. Our aim is to create an agreement that is good for all parties involved—for the children and both the parents. Our firm recognizes that the ideal situation includes both parents. Whenever possible, we create equitable solutions that allow both parents to work cooperatively for the sake of their child.
How Does Custody Work?
Custody is divided into two areas: legal and physical.
Physical Custody – This type of custody is simple, as it refers primarily to with whom the child lives. Physical custody also means this parent will be obligated to care for the child’s physical, emotional, and social needs directly (e.g. food, shelter, community involvement, school transportation).
Physical custody can be split, but because it puts an undue strain on the child, this is usually only true for parents who live nearby to each other.
Legal Custody – This type of custody refers to the right to make decisions in the upbringing of a child. This includes how a child is educated, what religion the child is raised in, and decisions regarding non-emergency healthcare.
Most courts prefer parents to have joint legal custody, even when a child spends the majority of their time with one parent. However, that is not always beneficial to the child.
There are many types of custody arrangements, including:
- Alternating—The parents alternate having sole physical and legal custody
- Shared—The parents share legal custody, but alternate physical custody
- Joint—Both parents have simultaneous physical and legal custody
- Sole—One parent alone has physical and legal custody
- Split—Parents each have full, sole custody over certain children in the marriage
Fighting for Custody?
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The primary doctrine by which courts will craft a child custody agreement will depend on what is in the child’s “best interests.” If the court determines that it is better for one parent to have sole legal and physical custody, then they will grant these powers to one parent alone.
Thankfully, custody is not a zero-sum game. State law supports the idea that a child’s health is best supported by the presence of both parents. A parent with whom the child does not live is called “noncustodial,” and the resident parent is “custodial.”