Child Custody Lawyer in Boulder

Child custody cases can get complicated in Colorado rather quickly. Both parents want what is best for their child, but they may not agree on what the “best” is. With an experienced Boulder custody lawyer who is prepared to handle even the most complex child custody cases, you will be in a better position to protect your interests and the interests of your child. Understanding how custody works in Colorado is also crucial so that you can go into your case feeling more prepared and less unclear about what is going to happen.

Best interests of the child

In a Boulder, Colorado, child custody case, the primary factor the courts will put above all else is what is considered in the “best interests” of your child. The standard the courts will use to finalize decisions on parental rights and responsibilities is set out in Colorado law and is known as the “Best Interest of Child (BIC) Test.” This test considers many factors, including:

  • Your child’s wishes if he or she is old enough
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The relationships in the family
  • The mental and physical health of everyone involved
  • The ability of each parent to put the needs of the child before their own
  • Encouragement of love and contact between the child and the other parent
  • Domestic violence history, if any
  • Past involvement with the child
  • The physical location of all parties

In situations where the court hears that the child may be endangered, the case is usually heard on an expedited or emergency basis, and it may restrict the parenting time of the endangering parent to protect the child from neglect, abuse and domestic violence. If this applies to your case, speak to us immediately. It can be difficult to determine and balance what is in the best interests of a child when one parent believes endangerment exists. There must be clear evidence to present to the court that the endangerment is real, so you will need your Boulder child custody lawyer to help you express your concerns as clearly and properly as possible to protect your child’s interests.

 

If you need help with a child custody case, contact the experienced attorneys at The Burnham Law Firm today.

 

The parenting plan

Once the best interests of the child have been established and you and your spouse have made other decisions about parenting time, such as how holidays will be handled, you will create your parenting plan, which is a document that outlines custody, visitation and decision-making responsibilities. This plan will be what you and your spouse are expected to follow, so it should include as many issues as possible, particularly if your situation is complicated. Naturally, it won’t be possible for you to think of every potential issue and situation you could face down the road, but the more comprehensive the plan is, the fewer chances there are of disputes and confusion later. Your Boulder custody lawyer will likely be able to think of parenting issues you and your spouse have not considered yet, which will help create a more well-rounded plan.

It’s important to note that you can modify the parenting plan in the future. It’s often easy when the parents are in agreement about the changes, but the process is more complicated if one parent objects. A Boulder child custody lawyer can help with modification should you run into issues with the other parent. When your co-parent does not agree to changes, you will need to be prepared to show the court how things have changed to justify the modification you are asking for.

Parenting schedules

Parenting time, which is the amount of time each parent gets to spend with the child, is driven by what is in the child best’s interests and will vary case by case. When parents live more than one hour apart, for example, it’s not going to be in the child’s best interest to have equally divided parenting time; imagine the commute for the child on school nights in that scenario. In a case like this, one potential arrangement would be for the child to stay with one parent more of the time, with the other parent having the child every other weekend, for two to four weeks in the summer, parts of other vacations and for agreed-upon major holidays. The task of driving to and from the residences is usually split between both parents.

In cases where the parents are living in different countries or states, routine weekend schedules are not practical, and the child will spend a lot more time with one parent than the other. The other parent may have a bigger block of time in the summer and alternate breaks with the parent with whom the child lives. As with driving, the costs of flying the child between homes is split, usually in proportion to income.

Contact The Burnham Law Firm about your Colorado child custody case as soon as possible. Even the simplest case on the surface can become complicated quickly, and you’ll need to be informed and prepared every step of the way.