Denver Child Custody

A child custody case is often fraught with emotion, and it can get complicated quickly. Before you go through your custody case, speak to an experienced child custody attorney Denver, CO so you have someone by your side with the knowledge you need to get through the system and the situation. With something as important as custody of your child on the line, it’s imperative you have the most thorough understanding of the laws and process possible.


Child custody in Denver

In Colorado, the term “custody” is no longer used. Instead, the courts use the term “parental responsibilities,” which includes both decision-making responsibilities and parenting time regarding the child or children. The determination process for how much time you will have with your child and who will make decisions for her or him is known as “allocation of parental responsibilities.” What you may know as “visitation” is now known as “parenting time,” with the primary care parent being the parent with whom the child lives with most of the time.

If you and the other parent are able to agree on all the issues, you can file together and submit your parenting plan, which is a document that details all the decisions you made, including decision-making responsibilities and the time each parent will spend with the child. A Denver child custody attorney can help you draft the plan so that it covers as many issues as possible. While it will not be possible for you to determine every single issue that could pop up in the future, the more comprehensive your plan is, the more likely you are to avoid conflict and confusion down the line.

In cases where you can’t agree with the other parent, you can file a petition with the help of your Denver child custody lawyer. Then, the other parent can file his or her response to your petition in writing. You can also file your own parenting plan, but without an agreement, be aware that the court can enter its own plan, which may or may not be the same as the plan you or the other parent filed.


For help with a parenting plan, contact The Burnham Law Firm.


The determination of parental responsibilities

A Denver court will consider all relevant factors in your case to determine child custody. The guiding principle, as set out in state law, is what is in the best interests of the child. Some basic factors the court will consider include:

  • The wishes of the child and the parents
  • The child’s relationship with his or her parents and other influential people
  • The child’s level of adjustment to community, school and home
  • The physical and mental health of all parties involved
  • How much each parent encourages the child to engage with the other parent
  • Any instances of domestic violence


State laws say that judges should assume frequent contact with both parents and the child is in her or his best interests unless one parent presents a danger of harm to the child. If you believe the other parent poses a danger to your child, you will need to be able to prove this in court, and your attorney can help your present your evidence properly. State laws also dictate that the gender of the parents cannot be taken into account when decisions are made about parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.


The typical parenting schedule

How much time each parent will spend with the child will vary case by case. Your Denver custody attorney will help you work toward the parenting time arrangement that you feel is best for your child. However, the specific circumstances in your case will also impact how it plays out. When parents live over an hour apart, for example, it’s generally not in the child’s best interest to split parenting time equally because of the commute he or she would face during school days. In a case like this, the non primary-care parent would typically have the child every other weekend, over part of the summer and for some major holidays and vacation periods. Driving between both homes would be split between the parents. If parents live in different countries or states, the non-primary care parent would instead have a bigger block of the summer and alternate with the primary care parent over other breaks. Airfare and travel costs would also be split between both parents in this case.

Contact The Burnham Law Firm, Denver custody lawyers about your case as soon as possible. While child custody orders can be modified as circumstances change, the courts are often hesitant to do so unless an extraordinary shift has occurred because stability is viewed as being necessary for your child’s well-being. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney on your custody case so nothing is missed or overlooked the first time you go through the process.