Some parents already have an agreement in writing regarding their children, which will make their divorce proceedings easier and less stressful. Others find the emotional fortitude to negotiate custody matters with one another during the early stages of their divorce.
If you don’t currently have an agreement and you can’t seem to work out a settlement with your ex, then you will likely need the Colorado courts to help you create a parenting plan or custody order. What can you expect during litigated custody matters in the Colorado family courts?
The state won’t use the term custody
The first step you need to take when learning about custody matters in Colorado is to familiarize yourself with the jargon that the state uses. Instead of referring to custody, Colorado state law has rules for the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Such language puts the focus on the best interests of the children.
Judges tend to prefer solutions that keep both parents actively involved with the children. They will often expect you and your ex to share both parenting time and decision-making authority. As you develop your strategy for your custody hearings, it is important to understand the language the state will use and also how they will evaluate your behavior and your relationship with the children to make decisions about the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.
The judge wants to keep the focus on the kids
You will need to cooperate with one another and avoid making statements that would damage the relationship your children have with the other parent. In situations where a judge worries that one parent will not act in the best interest of the children, they might decide to award one parent the vast majority of parenting time and decision-making authority. They may even require supervision for visitation, especially in scenarios involving chemical addiction or a history of domestic violence.
Parents who fight needlessly with one another or who demonstrate an unwillingness to comply with the court-ordered parenting schedule do themselves a disservice. Their actions show that they will interfere with their ex’s parenting rights, which might inspire a judge to limit how much time they have with the children or how much decision-making authority they receive.
Learning more about how Colorado handles custody matters will help you create realistic expectations and develop the best possible strategy for protecting your relationship with your children in your upcoming custody case.