When parents in Colorado divorce, they may be concerned about how much time they will get to spend with their child post-divorce. The idea that the child might not be in their care some of the time can be upsetting at first. However, oftentimes parents are able to see the benefit of co-parenting and work together to raise their child and help their child thrive.
The state of Colorado recognizes that in most circumstances when a child’s parents divorce, it is best for the child that he or she has frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Thus, it urges parents to share the responsibility of raising their child in a manner that fosters a loving and affectionate relationship. For this reason, absent cases of abuse, neither the mother nor the father is presumed to be the best parent to raise their child based on their gender or the child’s gender alone. Instead, the allocation of parenting time is based on the “best interests of the child.”
The court will consider a number of factors when determining the best interests of the child for the purpose of ordering parenting time. The parents wishes, along with the child’s if the child is mature enough to express a reasonable and independent preference, will be considered. The child’s interaction with and relationship with both parents along with any siblings will also be considered. Courts will also consider the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community.
The physical and mental health of both the parents and child will be considered, although disability alone will not form the basis of an adverse parenting time decision. The ability of each parent to encourage the child to have love, affection and contact with both of them, absent abuse, will be considered. Whether the parents already have a pattern and system of values, time commitment and mutual support will be considered. Finally, how close the parents live to one another and the practical considerations of when and how much parenting time the child will have with each of them will also be considered.
Child custody decisions are some of the most important decisions that will have to be made when parents in Colorado divorce. Ultimately, this post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website on child custody may be a useful resource for those who want more information on this topic.