Ending a marriage is not an easy task. The finalization of a divorce petition can be both emotionally and financially taxing. It becomes even more complex when there are children involved. As a parent going through divorce or child custody case, you have to be mindful of what life will look like for your children, moving forward – their well-being as well as well as your parental rights should be protected..
The term “child custody” has been phased out over the years and replaced with the term “allocation of parental responsibilities” (APR). As you go through divorce or custody matter, you certainly should be aware of some issues the Court will take into consideration with determining the allocation of parental responsibilities.
In allocation of parental responsibilities in Colorado, the court considers several factors, including:
1. The wishes of the parents.
The court will consider the wishes of each parent with regards to physical custody of the child(ren) as well as decision-making responsibilities. The parents may agree to a parenting plan that calls for the child to stay primarily with one of them, or the parents may share physical custody equally. Likewise, if the parents are effectively able to co-parent, they may agree to share decision making authority. If the parents don’t’ agree, the Court will consider the parents individual wishes in determining the allocation of parental responsibilities.
2. The wishes of the child.
The wishes of the child are also taken into account by the court when it wants to allocate parental responsibilities. This however is dependent upon on the maturity of the child and whether or not the child is able to provide a reasoned and independent preference as to a parenting time schedule.
3. Relationships between the child and the parents, siblings and any other people actively involved in the child’s life.
The court also takes into account the relationship that a child might have with his/her parents and siblings. This may be crucial especially if there is likely to be a separation of siblings by the divorcing parents.
4. The child’s ability to adjust to his normal social life.
It is imperative that the court considers if the child(ren) can adjust to a new home, school and community.
Other factors that the court considers include the physical and mental health of the parties involved, the ability of the parents to interact and stay in contact especially where there has been domestic violence or physical abuse, as well as previous behaviors of the involvement of the parents with the child. The court may also consider the proximity of the homes of each parent to the other and will consider the ability of each parent to put the interest of the child’s before their own.
In conclusion, when the Colorado court is required to decide the allocation of parental responsibilities, it must do so while considering, first and foremost, the best interest of the child(ren) involved. Additionally, the court will encourage effective co-parenting by the parents with the goal of keeping them both actively involved in their child’s life, which will ultimately be the best benefit to the child
For more information and to consult with a leading family law attorney, contact Pollart Miller LLC at 877-259-5693.