Parents get divorced, how they split custody of their children is often the biggest issue that causes disagreements. Parents may disagree about schedules, an appropriate division of parenting time or even who will have the authority to make certain decisions on behalf of the child.
In Colorado, the courts don’t call this authority custody. The law refers to these decisions as the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Sometimes, one parent can have full legal authority to make decisions and all of the parenting time, an arrangement known as sole custody in other states.
Is such a solution possible in a contested Colorado divorce?
The courts try to keep the children connected to both parents
You may want sole custody because you worry about the disruption of frequent exchanges or would prefer not to see your ex every few days. However, in most cases, it is usually better for the children to spend time with both of their parents after a divorce. The courts seek to uphold the best interests of the children by keeping both the parents actively involved in their lives.
If your ex agrees that they are not in a place to assume parental responsibilities and provide for your children, they might agree and allow you to assume primary care of and control over your children. If your ex doesn’t like that idea, however, you will have to go to court.
A judge is unlikely to award all parental responsibilities to one parent unless the situation makes it clear that one parent will not uphold the best interests of the children.
When is your ex’s involvement not good for the children?
For a judge to decide that your ex being around your children would do more harm than good, they will need to be documentation of serious behavioral, health or parenting issues. Mere accusations with no proof will likely do little to influence how a judge rules.
If you have medical records or police reports showing your ex’s history of domestic abuse or chemical dependence, then a judge might consider giving you all of the parental responsibilities for the protection and well-being of your children.
Understanding what influences custody decisions in litigated Colorado divorces can help you strategize for the best possible outcome for your children.