Alter Family Law
Colorado Child Custody
Child custody involving decision-making and parenting time can be very contentious if the parents do not agree on these issues. We understand your emotional connection to your children, your concerns for your children's development, and your psychological and financial investment in your children — And we take these very seriously.
The allocation of decision-making and parenting time can determine your children's well-being for the rest of their lives. We have experience with the courts on factors they take into consideration in making these determinations, the arguments that tend to "work", and the strategies to help you and your children. Of course, to the extent possible, we try to fashion a parenting plan agreement so that the parents can avoid an expensive and emotionally-draining custody battle.
Decision-Making Defined: The type of decision-making that is usually allocated by the Court involves "major decisions". These are not specifically defined anywhere but customarily involves medical and educational decisions. Examples include the choice of medical provider, treatment, and school. If there are other decisions you want to include as major decisions, then they need to be specifically requested. Examples could include religious decision-making, length of hair, body piercing, use of make-up, etc. Of course, unless there is an agreement, you will need to convince a court that the other parent cannot reasonably make decisions in this regard. This is difficult because parental rights carry considerable weight. However, courts will make these orders if the circumstances justify them. We will work with you to determine what those decisions may be and strategies to get you that decision-making authority where appropriate.
Decision-Making Determination: Courts look to statutory "best interests" factors to determine how to allocate decision-making to the parents. It is a case by case determination and the more important factors are:
• Whether a parent has committed child abuse, neglect or domestic violence;
• Past pattern of involvement of the parents with the children and the reasons why; and
• Whether mutual decision-making will promote contact between a parent and child.
We will work with you to assess these and other factors as they apply to your particular set of circumstances.
Parenting Time: Similarly to decision-making, courts look to statutory "best interests" factors to determine how to allocate parenting time to the parents. It is a case by case determination and the more important factors are:
• Wishes of the Parents;
• Wishes of the child;
• Relationship between the child, parents, siblings, and others;
• Adjustment of the child to home, school, and community;
• Physical and mental health of everyone involved;
• Ability of the parent to encourage the sharing of love and affection;
• Past pattern of involvement of the parent with the child;
• Physical proximity of the parents to each other;
• Ability of the parent to place the needs of the child first; and
• Claims of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or sexual assault.
The parents often have different viewpoints as to the above factors. Sometimes, issues devolve into a "he said, she said" argument. Experts may be helpful in assisting the Court in making a parenting time determination. We will work with you to assess these and other factors as they apply to your particular set of circumstances. We can also help you develop a parenting plan that makes sense for you and your children.