Child custody matters are some of the most heated and sensitive issues in our entire court system. As parents, you always want what’s best for your children, but it can be difficult to communicate and cooperate with your ex regarding child custody. We understand that the complex issues regarding your child can become overwhelming.
Burnham Law will help you through this tough time, advising you and supporting you in all the tough choices and decisions you must make for your family. If you have concerns about child custody, contact our lawyers today. We have seasoned lawyers who have helped many clients settle child custody matters and reach the most favorable results.
Fort Collins, Colorado is a unique front-range location as it entails both a large agriculture community as well as some of Colorado’s largest corporate employers. Understanding how each of these demographics influence Colorado custody laws helps create robust custody agreements and orders.
How Does Child Custody Work in Fort Collins, Colorado?
Colorado legislature has removed the phrase “custody” and replaced it with “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Despite this change, legal professionals commonly interchange custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, and APR. Allocation of parental responsibilities is categorized in two ways: parenting time and major decision making.
Parenting Time refers to the schedule of when and where the child will live and who will be obligated to care for them. The parent granted parenting time must shelter the child and support them physically, emotionally, and socially while in the parent’s care.
Parenting time usually entails a detailed schedule between the parents that includes days, exchange times, and exchange location(s) that are found to serve the best interest of the child. However, parenting time can become difficult to share if the parents live far away from each other, as travel may put undue strain on the child.
Major Decision Making
Major Decision Making, on the other hand, is the right to make major decisions for the child. Major Decision Making concerns crucial matters like healthcare, education, religion, etc. Decision making authority is either granted solely to one parent over the other OR is granted jointly where both parents have the right and ability to make the major decisions together.
How does the Fort Collins Court Decide Custody?
Every parent has a responsibility to care for and raise their children in the best way possible. The number one priority of the court is to order the parenting time schedule and decision making authority that will be in the child’s best interest.
It’s crucial for courts to determine who among the parents has a better capacity to decide on major matters regarding the child’s upbringing. Many times, the courts find it ideal for the parents to work together and allocate joint parental responsibilities. While courts urge parents to collaborate regarding decision making, this can also be allocated to only one parent under certain circumstances.
When entering orders about parenting time and decision making, the court always determines what is in the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child is assessed by the court utilizing a list of factors that it must consider as a matter of law. Some of these include:
- Child’s wishes, if they are mature enough to decide
- Mental and physical health of the parents and the child
- Relationship of the child with the parents
- Parent’s wishes
- Ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make joint decisions
- Ability of the parents to create a positive and healthy relationship with the child
- Past behaviors, values, time commitments, and support for the child
Types of Custody Arrangements
Custody arrangements can vary according to the children’s specific needs and the unique circumstances of the family. These can be customized to serve the child’s best interest. However, there are common parenting time schedules used by Fort Collins courts:
- Week on/Week off: Each parent receives the same amount of time with the child by rotating each week.
- 5-2-2-5: This is a type of equal parenting time schedule that has the child spending Monday and Tuesday with one parent, Wednesday and Thursday with the other parent, and then the parents rotate every Friday-Sunday.
- Every Other Weekend: This is a schedule where there is a “primary” parent with whom the child lives. The non-primary parent receives every other weekend. Many times Fort Collins courts will include a weekly dinner visit for the non-primary parent when imposing this parenting time schedule.
- Custom: If required, the parties may need a schedule that is customized to fit the specific needs of the family. These schedules are common among parents who are employed as pilots, firefighters, nurses, and other jobs that entail non-traditional work schedules.
As for major decision making, Fort Collins courts commonly order one of the following:
- Joint Decision Making: The parents must make all major decisions together and in a joint fashion.
- Sole Decision Making: This allows one parent (named by the court) to make all major decisions. These orders usually involve a notice and consideration provision where the parent who is making the decisions must give notice of the issue and consider the other parent’s position prior to making a final decision.
- Custom: While not often, sometimes a court will allocate a specific area of decision making to one parent and a separate area to another. For example, a court may order that Parent 1 receives sole decision making over education decisions while Parent 2 has sole decision making over medical issues.
Why You Need a Fort Collins Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody cases can be very overwhelming and emotionally draining, especially if you and your ex are going through a divorce [HYPERLINK TO COLO SPRINGS DIVORCE LAWYER CONTENT] as well. You may not be able to handle the matters of child custody alone as these cases can become very heated due to their sensitive nature.
A child custody lawyer can help you navigate the complex matters involved in your case while fighting for you and the best interest of your child. We can help create a fair and beneficial setup that will be for the good of your entire family. We strive to protect your rights and interests so that you can move on from this tough time and pave the way to a new beginning.
Contact Us Today
Burnham Law lawyers are human too, which means that we understand how difficult these types of cases are for families. This is why we adopt sound strategies and approaches that protect the interests of you AND your child(ren). You don’t have to go through this alone. Our Fort Collins child custody lawyers can walk with you every step of the way and help you attain the best results. Contact us today.