When parents split up, regardless of whether they were married, child custody often becomes a contentious issue that requires the assistance of Denver child custody lawyers. What is child custody? How is it determined? Is Colorado a 50-50 child custody state? Are there specific legal grounds for a parent to obtain full custody of their child? If you need assistance in a child custody matter, legally known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, schedule a consultation with the Denver family law attorneys at Stahly Mehrtens LLC.
What Is Child Custody in Denver?
In Denver and in all of Colorado, child custody, or the allocation of parental responsibilities, is broken down into two types:
- Physical custody is referred to as the allocation of parenting time. This can include sole physical custody or joint physical custody. It may also include some form of shared physical custody between the two that includes visitation.
- Legal custody is referred to as the allocation of parenting responsibilities. This may be given to one parent or it may be shared between both parents.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Colorado?
In Colorado, the allocation of parental responsibility and time (child custody) can be a matter that is settled by the parents. If you and the other parent are able to come to an agreement, this is generally better than the Court taking the matter under advisement. You and the other parent creating a parenting plan and allocation of parental responsibility and time ensures that you and the other parent get at least some of what you both want than allowing the Court to make the decision.
If the Court makes the decision on behalf of the child, it looks at a legal concept known as the best interest of the child. This is a concept that is broken down into factors under Colorado Revised Statutes including and not limited to:
- The child’s physical well-being
- The child’s mental well-being
- The child’s emotional well-being
- The parent’s physical health
- The parent’s mental health
- The relationship between the parent and child
If the child has the mental and emotional maturity to express with whom they wish to live, there are certain circumstances under which the Court will take that information under advisement.
Is Colorado a 50-50 Child Custody State?
The “50-50 child custody” phrase refers to what most parents refer to as “joint custody.” Although there is no requirement for the Colorado court to order joint parenting time, Colorado Revised Statute does require that parents and the parties involved in the child custody matter, such as grandparents, may have continuing and frequent contact with the child. When appropriate, parents may share the parenting time equally. In some circumstances, one parent may have up to 75% of the parenting time.
What Are the Legal Grounds for Full Custody of a Child in Colorado?
There are several legal grounds to seek full custody of a child in Colorado. However, you must be able to present evidence that will convince the Court that providing you with full custody is in the child’s best interest. These legal grounds include:
- The other parent’s parental rights were terminated
- The other parent has a history of physical abuse
- The other parent has a history of substance abuse
- The other parent has a history of serious irresponsibility
- The other parent has a history of child abandonment
- The other parent is incarcerated
- The other parent has an ongoing severe mental or emotional illness
- A court decision issued that the other parent is unfit to provide care for the child
Contact a Denver Child Custody Attorney Today
The allocation of parental time and responsibility is crucial for both parents and the children involved. Stahly Mehrtens LLC provide experienced Denver child custody lawyers to assist parents in coming up with parenting plans that work. Schedule your consultation now.