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Determing child custody for unmarried parents can be tricky

When a marriage between parents dissolves, it can be difficult for all parties involved. In cases where the parents were never married, deciding how to settle child custody may be even more complicated. Colorado has custody laws in place, but these situations may require extra attention in order to ensure that the child's best interests are protected.

It is becoming more commonplace for couples to elect to skip marriage for any number of personal reasons. If that couple later find themselves with a child or two, it may become more difficult to arrange a parenting plan that works well. If parents cohabited with their children at any time, then the courts may follow existing custody laws in order to preserve and nurture the relationships between child and parent.

There are cases when a parent may not be aware that a child resulted from a relationship. If at some later time that father decides he would like to play a role in his child's life, it may be tricky to decide on a plan that will allow a bond to form while also not forcing a relationship with a parent whom the child does not yet feel fully comfortable spending time around. At these times, the courts may provide a limited visitation schedule in order for parent and child to become familiar with one another.

Every family dynamic is unique and requires an individualized child custody plan. Ideally, this plan will protect the bonds between parent and child, especially if one parent attempts to interfere with the other parent's relationship with his or her child. Whenever Colorado parents are struggling to find a parenting plan that works best for them, they may be best served by consulting with an experienced attorney who can help ensure that the child is provided with the best possible arrangement.

Source:, "Who Gets Custody If The Parents Aren't Married? Experts Explain The Law", Caroline Shannon-Karasik, April 13, 2018

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