When couples break up or divorce and have children, it is very important to come up with a child custody agreement that clearly outlines the parent the child is going to live with, the visitation schedule, and the child support payment plan for the non-custodial parent.
The couple can settle child custody amicably via parenting agreement or through a mediator. Once this fails, they can proceed to the court and have the court decide the case for them. Custody cases are entirely focused on the child’s best interests.
It is very important for children to have two active parents in their life. In the state of Colorado, to rightfully decide child custody, there are a number of factors which are put into consideration. Most courts in Colorado try to uphold the notion of the importance of a child having two active parents in their life by striving to pass a verdict of joint custody arrangement
Factors considered in the passing of joint custody arrangement
With joint custody agreement being the most suitable form of arrangement that promotes the child best interests, as per the view of Colorado courts, there are some factors considered. These are
- a) Ability or willingness of the parents to agree on this form of arrangement (joint custody)
- b) Geographical distance between the parents residence- When the couple live close enough geographically, it is feasible to facilitate a joint custody agreement
- c) Willingness of the couple to cooperate- The parents must show that they are willing to pull and work together, and communicate in order to raise the children
- d) Willingness of the parents to nurture and promote a positive relationship between the other parent and the child.
- e) History of abuse of either of the parents- This is an important factor that is considered as it revolves around the safety and wellbeing of the child.
When joint custody agreement cannot be achieved, the court decides on the specific parent the child will reside with and the parent that receives visitation rights. This will also be arrived at after the judge considers some fundamental aspects.
Factors considered in the determination of parenting responsibilities
Parenting responsibilities simply mean the allocation of parenting time and decision making. One parent is allocated the primary responsibility of living with the child and making decisions, while the other parent receives visitation rights (parenting time). The factors considered here include the following:
- a) Financial Stability of each parent- The courts determines the ability and financial capability of each parent in providing the basic necessities to the child.
- b) The parent’s mental and emotional stability- The court strives to ensure that the ideal parent is emotionally strong and mentally stable enough to be able to provide the child with a nurturing home.
- c) The parent who can facilitate the child with adequate quality educational opportunities
- d) The parent who is able to foster and encourage healthy and positive relationships between the child and others. He or she should be able to ensure the child relates well with the other parent, peers and even extended family.
- e) The ability of the parent to make important decisions in the child’s life– The court checks to see the parent who can tackle big decisions like health, education and religious decisions in the upbringing of the child
Other factors which are considered in the determination of child custody include the parents’ conduct, substance abuse, child abuse or neglect or any other misconduct of a parent during the marriage. Furthermore, both parents are regarded as equal before the law, rubbishing the previously favorable treatment mothers enjoyed in custody cases.
Custody disputes don’t necessarily need to escalate into ugly legal spats in courtrooms. You should get in touch with a child custody attorney for guidance to resolve your situation.