Colorado Springs Child Custody

Child custody is often a very emotional area of family law. Parents only want the best for their children, and they may have different ideas of what the best actually means. If you are currently or are going to be involved in a case regarding the custody of your children, it’s important to speak to an experienced child custody attorney in Colorado Springs as soon as you can. Having experienced representation on your side, such as the diverse and aggressive team of professionals at The Burnham Law Firm, can make a difference in your case’s outcome.

When it comes to family law cases, knowledge can be power in terms of keeping your stress down and your options open. Review the overview of child custody in Colorado below so you’re more informed and feel less in the dark about your case as you go through this process.

 

The laws apply equally to both parents

Family law in Colorado is completely gender-neutral, with neither parent receiving priority over the other. While it was once common for the courts to award primary care custody to women automatically, that has been changing over the last ten years. Keep in mind that this outdated mindset does rear its head in court on occasion still, and if you feel this is happening in your case, make sure you speak to child custody lawyers in Colorado Springs about what is happening. Contact The Burnham Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation.

 

Reaching agreements on your own

You and the other parent, with help from your child custody lawyers in Colorado Springs and other third parties if necessary, can reach an agreement about custody without the court deciding for you. This is actually the preferable way to approach custody matters as it’s less stressful than a prolonged battle in court for everyone involved and it gives you and the other parent some control over the situation.

You have more than one option if you want to reach a custody agreement with the other parent on your own. Your attorneys can assist, and you can also try mediation – when a neutral third party helps you settle – or arbitration, during which a neutral third party both parents choose makes the final determination in a less formal and more private setting than a courtroom. Arbitration can be particularly useful in complex child custody cases where mediation has failed as it affords more privacy than being in front of a judge in a Colorado courtroom.

 

A child’s “best interests” drive decisions

Whatever is considered in your child’s best interests is what will shape court decisions on custody. Note that what you and the other parent view as being best for your child may not be what the court sees as the correct way to go. Your children’s views may have some weight in the custody case, depending on their ages, but bear in mind that the idea a child over 12 decides custody in Colorado is just a myth. Children do not have the right to decide custody even if they are teenagers.

Previously, courts favored a child living mainly with one parent and seeing the other one on set occasions. Today, there is more equal parenting time decisions if the children’s schedules and the parent’s physical locations allow for more evenly split parenting schedules. When parents live further apart, it’s not considered in the child’s best interests to have him or her constantly commuting, so he or she often will live with one parent primarily while visiting with the other for vacations and longer blocks of time.

 

The parenting plan

Your child custody agreement, however you reach it, will come in the form of a “parenting plan.” This is a schedule that sets out the responsibilities of each parent as well as the time the children will spend with them. It’s important that this plan addresses as many details about the custody arrangements as possible. While it is not possible to predict every future situation, when a parenting plan is more comprehensive, it provides parents with a framework to rely on to avoid disputes, confusion and stress. Ideally, the parenting plan will address holidays, vacations and other matters that could cause problems down the road.

A parenting plan can be modified if circumstances change. In this situation, the parent requesting the changes will have to be able to demonstrate to the court why this modification is warranted if the other parent is not in agreement, as courts often hesitate to allow changes to a parenting plan because stability is considered in a child’s best interest. Talk to a child custody attorney about any modifications to a current parenting plan you want to make to ensure it is approached and done properly.

At The Burnham Law Firm, we understand just how sensitive and important child custody cases are and the impact they can have on an entire family. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.