Denver Child Custody Lawyer • Basic Things You Need To Know About It

Filed in Article by on May 24, 2020 0 Comments

Before you hire a child custody lawyer, you need to have a clear understanding of what a child custody law is all about. In this article, you will be given detailed information about it.

Child custody is a legal term regarding guardianship which is used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent or guardian and a child in that person’s care. Child custody consists of legal custody, which is the right to make decisions about the child, and physical custody, which is the right and duty to house, provide and care for the child.

Married parents normally have joint legal and physical custody of their children. Decisions about child custody typically arise in proceedings involving divorce, annulment, separation, or adoption. In most jurisdictions, child custody is determined in accordance with the best interests of the child standard.

Going through a child custody issue can be hard to do on your own, and you may need some help to get through it. Talking to a lawyer can make a big difference.

What Does A Child Custody Lawyer Do?

A custody issues lawyer will advocate for you in mediation and disputes involving your children, including:

  • Becoming the primary caregiver of your child after a separation or divorce
  • Guide you through paperwork
  • Represent you in court if it reaches that stage
  • Negotiate child support rates.

How Do I Know If I Need A Child Custody Lawyer?

If you’ve recently gone through a divorce or separation, a lawyer who specializes in child custody may be necessary because not all divorce or family lawyers have experience handling the placement of your children. If there’s any doubt about who your children will live with and who will support them, it may be especially helpful to have a specialist on your side.

How Much Does A Child Custody Lawyer Cost?

Lawyers take different approaches to how they bill and how much they charge. For simple, uncontested cases, custody issues attorneys may charge a flat rate for all of the services. However, if you’re having trouble negotiating or are considering going to court, an hourly rate is standard. Rates will vary depending on where you live, so be sure to ask up front how much your lawyer will charge.

What Should I Expect When Working With A Child Custody Lawyer?

If you and the other parent can come to an agreement out of court, the process will be shorter and less expensive. If you do end up in court, the judge will have to determine which parent is more willing and able to care for your child and that person will be given primary custody. It’s also possible to share custody if you’re both deemed equally able. A good lawyer will try hard to make sure that the proceedings don’t get out of hand and the outcome is fair.

How Does Child Custody Work In Colorado?

Custody is divided into two areas: legal and physical.

Physical Custody

This type of custody is simple, as it refers primarily to with whom the child lives. Physical custody also means this parent will be obligated to care for the child’s physical, emotional, and social needs directly (e.g. food, shelter, community involvement, school transportation).

Physical custody can be split, but because it puts an undue strain on the child, this is usually only true for parents who live nearby to each other.

Legal Custody

This type of custody refers to the right to make decisions in the upbringing of a child. This includes how a child is educated, what religion the child is raised in, and decisions regarding non-emergency healthcare.

Most courts prefer parents to have joint legal custody, even when a child spends the majority of their time with one parent. However, that is not always beneficial to the child.

What Types Of Custody Arrangements Are There?

There are many types of custody arrangements, including:

  • Alternating: The parents alternate having sole physical and legal custody
  • Shared: The parents share legal custody, but alternate physical custody
  • Joint: Both parents have simultaneous physical and legal custody
  • Sole: One parent alone has physical and legal custody
  • Split: Parents each have full, sole custody over certain children in the marriage.

The primary doctrine by which courts will craft a child custody agreement will depend on what is in the child’s “best interests.” If the court determines that it is better for one parent to have sole legal and physical custody, then they will grant these powers to one parent alone.

Thankfully, custody is not a zero-sum game. State law supports the idea that a child’s health is best supported by the presence of both parents. A parent with whom the child does not live is called “noncustodial,” and the resident parent is “custodial.”

Colorado Child Custody FAQS

Can Children Choose Where They Live?

Colorado courts can and sometimes do consider the preference of children when determining custody and where a child will primarily reside. However, a child’s preference is only one of many factors considered by courts. Judges will still have discretion when awarding custody, and will still consider the ability of each parent to provide a safe home, their work schedules and living conditions, the geographic location of each parent, and what is ultimately in the child’s best interests, among other factors.

Who Gets The Kids During A Divorce?

That depends. During a divorce, parents may come to a mutual agreement about child custody and parenting time. If these arrangements provide safety and stability to a child’s life, they will be approved by courts. If there are other circumstances or disputes, however, parents may need to seek temporary custody orders, which can address physical custody and the right to make important decisions for a child while a case is pending, as well as child support.

Can I Change A Child Custody Agreement?

If a child custody agreement has already been established by the court, either as the result of a divorce or a stand-alone custody case, there may be options to modify the agreement.

However, Colorado courts do not freely grant post-decree modifications of child custody; parents must prove modifications will benefit a child, and that they are justified due to changing circumstances. This may include changes to a child’s physical or emotional needs, a parent’s injury or illness, criminal activity or domestic violence, parental relocation, and other major life changes.

Is Colorado A 50/50 Child Custody State?

Ideally, Colorado courts would prefer to carry out the order of joint custody so that the child can spend time with both parents equally. In addition, it would allow each parent to make major life decisions for the child such as education and healthcare. However, courts have had a harder time implementing these orders because of various factors such as housing circumstances or if one parent lives in a different state.

At What Age Can A Child Decide Which Parent To Live With In Colorado?

Can the child request which parent they wish to stay with full-time? Of course, but the child must be at a mature enough age for a judge to seriously consider it. Historically, children fourteen years and older have been given these preferential rights.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Logic Publishers is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often.

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