When a couple gets divorced the most pressing question to be addressed is often who will get custody of their children. Child custody, also referred to as “parental responsibilities” in Colorado, involves the determination of who will care for, and make legal decisions for, the minor child in question. Family courts in Colorado make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. But how does the court determine which child custody arrangement would be in the child’s best interest? If you are located in Colorado, the answer to this question lies in the of the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act.
Factors Considered in Colorado Child Custody Cases
Under section 14-10-124 of the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, the legislature notes that in order to determine which custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the child the court must consider all relevant factors including:
- The wishes of the parents,
- The wishes of the child if they are old enough to have a mature and independent opinion,
- Relationships that the child has with their parents, their siblings, and any other person who has the ability to significantly impact the child’s best interests,
- How well adjusted the child is to a particular home, school, and community,
- The mental and physical health of all parties involved,
- The age of the parents,
- The ability of each parent to foster love between the child and the other parent,
- The parents’ pattern of involvement in the child’s life,
- The condition of the home in which the child would live,
- How close the parents live to each other, and
- The ability of each parent to place the child’s needs ahead of their own.
Additionally, the court also takes into consideration whether awarding custody to either parent would place the child in physical or emotional danger. For example, if a custody case involves a claim of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or sexual assault that can be substantiated this will weigh heavily against awarding custody to the accused party.
Gender of a Parent is Not Considered in Colorado Child Custody Determinations
Family law courts in Colorado are not allowed to consider the gender of a parent when making a child custody determination. In other words, the law does not allow the court to presume that one parent is better suited to have custody of the child based on that parent’s gender. This law departs from the traditional presumption that young children are better off in their mother’s custody than in their father’s custody. Colorado is not alone in this gender-neutral approach as many other states also have a similar child custody law. With that said, mothers in Colorado do tend to be awarded custody of the children more often than fathers do.
Need Legal Advice?
If you live in Colorado and are getting divorced, protect your parental rights by hiring an experienced child custody attorney from Robinson & Henry, P.C. today. A skilled family law attorney can play an instrumental role in negotiating an amicable parenting agreement and can be an invaluable tool to have by your side. Contact our Denver, Castle Rock, or Colorado Springs office at (303) 688-0944 to schedule a free consultation.