Greenwood Village Child Custody
Attorneys Fighting for the Wellbeing of Your Child
At Hinds & Hinds Family Law, P.C., we know that many parents would sacrifice all of the money, assets, and property in the world if it means obtaining custody of their child. Divorces can get rather ugly, and it is almost always the child custody aspect that entrenches the parties in conflict.
We know how you feel. Our firm was founded in 1981 with the initial vision of establishing a family law practice that is child-centered and solution-oriented. This is what we do, and we have a team of Greenwood Village family lawyers highly trained in executing that vision in a settlement context as well as in the courtroom.
How the Courts Determine Child Custody
Family courts have very difficult decisions to make when it comes to these matters. The courts are supposed to make objective, third-party decisions based on what they know or feel to be the best interests of their children. It’s important to know what data they will consider.
Common factors considered by the Court when determining the best interests of the child(ren) are:
- The wishes of the child, if he or she is sufficiently mature enough to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability alone shall not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time;
- The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party; except that, if the court determines that a party is acting to protect the child from witnessing domestic violence or from being a victim of child abuse or neglect or domestic violence, the party's protective actions shall not be considered with respect to this factor;
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support;
- The physical proximity of the parties to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of parenting time;
- The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: Differences Between Legal and Physical Custody
In Colorado, the term “custody” has been replaced with “parental responsibilities.” While the terms are somewhat interchangeable, the legislature and legal community tend to use the terms surrounding parental responsibilities in place of the antiquated custody. Parental responsibility is divided between the terms “decision-making” (formerly legal custody) and “parenting time” (formerly physical custody). Decision-making means that a parent is responsible for making major decisions concerning the child, specifically as they relate to how the child will be raised raised. Parenting time refers to the actual time spent with the parent.
Joint decision-making and equal parenting time certainly exists, but this may not be appropriate for your circumstances. This is why the domestic courts of Colorado have such broad discretion in this area: no two family situations are exactly the same. If the case involves parents who do not live very close to one another, or who have a history of domestic violence, addiction issues, or a protection order, the Court may consider a different allocation of parental responsibilities, and this may include sole decision-making and or limited parenting time for one party.
If you are afraid you will be unable to raise your child, or you are afraid that a dangerous former spouse will be able to, we will fight in your corner for what is best for your child. Call our offices today at (303) 900-4788 to ensure you have the help you need.