When Colorado couples divorce, there are a variety of issues which need to be settled in order for divorcees to continue on with their separate lives. However, when children are involved, this may not be such an easy task. More than likely, the divorced parents will be connected until their children are at least adult age. There are a variety of ways in which a judge can resolve child custody issues during a divorce.
One option a judge has is to create a joint custody settlement, which means both parents will have custody of the child. However, there are two different types of joint custody: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. Joint legal custody is when both parents have equal legal custody with no parent having superior rights over the other parent, unless otherwise specified by the court. Joint physical custody refers to the child’s physical residence which is to be shared between the two parents equally.
Another option which a judge could choose is sole custody. In this type of custody arrangement, one parent has legal custody, which means this parent makes all decisions for the child. However, this does not necessarily keep the other parent from being able to spend time with the child. Also, sole custody does not allow the custodial parent to change a court order without the other parent having a legal right to weigh in.
The court is legally obligated to rule in the best interests of the child in a Colorado child custody dispute during a divorce. This means each party will have to present a legal argument in court in order to obtain the desired custody arrangement. For example, if a parent wishes to have sole custody, he or she will have to show the court why this would be in the child’s best interest. However, one will likely need to be familiar with applicable family law in Colorado.
eacourier.com, “From the Bench: A judge’s child custody decisions,” Judge Monica Stauffer, Aug. 7, 2013