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How is child custody determined in Colorado?

The end of a marriage often means making major decisions. And when the divorcing spouses have children, this means making challenging decisions surrounding their children. Determining a custody arrangement that works for both parents is not always an easy task. The wishes of each parent might be different, the needs of the child might be unique and there could be factors involved that could significantly impact the best interests of the children.

How is child custody determined in Colorado? The state of Colorado refers to child custody as parental responsibilities, and this term refers to whom the child resides with, who gets to make major decisions and what visitation will be for the non-custodial parent. Colorado also uses the best interests of the child standard when determining parental responsibilities.

It is typical for a judge to order joint parental responsibilities in the state of Colorado. This means both parents share the responsibility to make major life decisions. However, shared physical custody can be difficult to implement in some situations. This is especially true when one parent lives further away or even in a different state. This results in one parent having sole physical custody or primary parental responsibility. The non-custodial parent will have visitation or parenting time.

Although it is rare, some parents may be awarded sole physical and legal parental responsibilities. This is often granted in cases where there is physical, sexual or severe emotional abuse of the child. This could also be granted in cases where the child witnessed serious domestic violence against one of the parents.

Family law matters can be complex. Thus, further complicating the divorce process. It is important for divorcing parents to fully understand their situation, their rights and what options they have. This can help move the process forward while also ensuring that the interests of the children are protected.

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