If you’re a parent who is contemplating or going through a divorce, you likely want to do everything possible to provide for your child’s safety and wellbeing. You also probably have many questions about how child custody and visitation decisions are made. It’s important, therefore, to ensure that you understand what issues can impact the outcome of a custody case.

In Colorado, child custody is legally referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities. In cases where parents aren’t able to come to an agreement on their own about such matters, a family court judge will step in and make decisions based upon what he or she believes to be in a child’s best interests.

The following are five issues that a judge will take into consideration when making decisions related to parental responsibilities:

1. A child’s age and maturity

2. A child’s relationship with each parent and each parent’s level of involvement in a child’s life

3. The mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing of a child and both parents

4. Each parent’s ability to “encourage the sharing of love, affection and contact” between a child and the other parent

5. Any history of domestic violence or child neglect or abuse

Once decisions related to the allocation of parental responsibilities are made, it can be challenging to legally justify why they should be modified or amended. A divorce attorney who handles child custody matters can answer questions, provide advice and advocate on one’s behalf to work to secure favorable custody and visitation terms.