Parenting Time & Child Custody in Colorado
Dedicated Counsel Protecting the Best Interest of Your Children
Are you worried about keeping custody over your children when your divorce is finalized? These matters are one of the toughest factors to deal with when legally ending your marriage. If you wish to retain custody, it is important to understand the different facets of what that entails before coming to an agreement with your spouse.
At Barre M. Sakol, P.C., our Boulder divorce attorney knows that compassion and superior legal representation during this difficult transition can greatly reduce the stress on your family. This is why Barre is dedicated to providing free initial consultations for custody, support, & alimony while always striving to remain accessible.
Let us help you get through your child custody case. Our Boulder child custody lawyer has helped families with complex divorce matters for decades. Call us today at (720) 999-9506 for a free consultation.
Understanding Child Custody & Parenting Time
In the State of Colorado, the term “custody” is no longer used, as it is deemed antagonistic and politically incorrect. Now, what was once referred to as “child custody” is now called “parental responsibility.”
Parental responsibilities are divided into three categories:
- Decision-making – Where will the child go to school, etc.?
- Parenting time – Where will the child spend time and with whom?
- Child support – Who will pay for financial obligations with regard to the child/children?
It's important to fully grasp these three, state-defined aspects of parental responsibilities. Understanding what each responsibility encompasses is the first step to creating a plan that works in favor of your children.
How Parental Responsibilities are Decided by the Courts
Deciding on custody terms with your spouse may be one of the toughest things to go through during your divorce. This is something you will need to consider carefully; couples have a lot to agree on when it comes to determining who can visit the child, who will live with them full-time, and how the children will be provided for.
It is usually best for the couple to come to an amicable agreement on their own, with the help of lawyers, without having to settle their case in court, where a judge who may not have a full picture of all the facts will determine their case. However, if this is unavoidable, the court will take several factors into consideration.
Factors that influence the court may include the following:
- Age(s) of the child or children
- Time spent with each parent before the divorce
- Location of each parent with regards to safety and proximity to the school(s)
- Financial stability of each parent
Why Your Child's Age Might Be a Factor
Age is an important consideration. An infant is too young for an overnight stay at the secondary parent’s home, and will live with the primary parent until they mature enough to handle an overnight stay. The Arizona Supreme Court recently commissioned a study on parenting time, which indicates that if the parental parties had previously cared for the child equally, both know how to care for the child on an overnight stay, and live close enough as to prevent long commutes, then the earliest age for an overnight stay at the secondary parent’s home is 10 months.
As the child grows older, the court will continue to re-evaluate the case to determine what the child can handle with regards to overnight stays. Eventually, if the conditions are right, the child may end up in a situation where he or she is splitting time with each parent on a 50/50 basis. There are many factors that can influence whether or not a 50/50 split is the right choice, which is why legal representation is strongly advised in child custody cases. The key element is always going to be what’s in the best interests of the child. What the parent wants is irrelevant.
Types of Custody Arrangements
- Physical custody: which parent will live full-time with the child
- Legal custody: the parent(s) rights to make legal decisions for the child concerning important matters
- Joint custody: both parents retain equal custody rights over the child
- Split custody: each parent has primary custody of one or more children
- Parenting time: visitation rights, including scheduled, reasonable, supervised, or no visitation
If you need help determining your child custody and parenting time agreement, our family law attorney in Boulder is fully equipped to guide you through this process. With over 40 years of experience in this area of law, Attorney Barre M. Sakol has the ability to approach each case with the efficiency and resilience it requires.
Making Changes to the Parenting Schedule
Once the court determines the schedule, making changes may or may not be a complicated process, and all three legs of parenting responsibilities will be considered (decision-making, parenting time, and child support). If you’re trying to shift away from joint decision-making, there will be a pretty high burden of proof in doing so.
Essentially, in this type of case, you must be able to show that the present situation endangers the child either physically or emotionally. However, it is much easier to shift from sole decision-making to joint decision-making, especially if both parents have fulfilled their responsibilities in caring for the child up until this point.
As far as making adjustments to parenting time, the reasoning must always be that the changes are in the best interest of the child. Depending on the change requests, it may be a simple matter in the eyes of the court.
Finding the Right Child Custody Arrangement
When a couple with children decides to get divorced, some of the first questions that arise are about parenting time and custody—who gets the kid(s) at what times, will there be a “primary” parent, and what happens if one spouse wants to change the arrangement? Of course, every family is different, and every case is unique.
Once you and your spouse have decided to get divorced, one of the best things you can do is hire an experienced attorney. At Barre M. Sakol, P.C., our child custody lawyer has helped numerous couples find the right arrangement for their unique situation. With more than 40 years of experience, we can help you every step of the way.
Don't hesitate to get the legal representation you deserve. Call us today at (720) 999-9506 or complete our online form to speak to our compassionate custody and parenting time attorney in Boulder!
“He is always available, and very focused on his client and his/her case. ”- Paul G.
“It was a trying time and having Barre on my side was was the best decision I made.”- Stephanie F.
“While I wish I had never had to meet Barre, I'm glad that I retained his services. ”- Alan G.