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Child Custody Attorneys in Lakewood, Colorado

According to 2018 research by CustodyXChange.com, fathers in Colorado are likely to get about 50% of child custody time. Allocation of parental rights, commonly referred to as child custody, is among the key divorce issues that must be resolved before a divorce can be finalized. In the event that the divorcing or separating parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court can intervene and allocate parental rights based on the child's best interest and welfare.

If you are considering divorce and trying to understand how to handle parental rights, consulting with an experienced Colorado family law attorney is crucial for proper guidance. At Snodgrass Family Law, we're dedicated to offering knowledgeable and comprehensive guidance in family law matters, including child custody arrangements. Our attorneys are available to discuss your circumstances, explore your available options, and guide you through every phase of the legal proceedings.

Our team at Snodgrass Family Law is proud to serve clients across Lakewood, Colorado, and the surrounding areas of Frisco, Littleton, Arvada, Golden, and the greater Denver area.

Establishing a Child Custody Arrangement

Child custody is often a complex subject in a legal separation or divorce. The court will allocate parental rights based on the welfare and best interest of the child. Custody issues can be resolved through any of the following options:

Uncontested Custody

An uncontested parental arrangement makes it possible for both parents to establish child custody arrangements in a seamless, peaceful, and cost-efficient manner. This requires the parents to work together and draw up mutually acceptable terms and conditions for custody. The agreed-upon terms will be presented to the court for official approval. Whenever possible, uncontested custody remains the quickest, least expensive, and most painless option. An experienced attorney can help keep the conversation productive and on track.

Contested Custody

If the parents can't come to an agreement, they will take the case to court. The judge will listen to both parents and establish a custody arrangement while prioritizing the best interests of the child. A knowledgeable attorney can fight to protect your legal rights, help present your case meticulously, and improve your chances of arriving at an arrangement that is best for you and your family.

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Parental Responsibility
(Joint or Sole Arrangement)

In the state of Colorado, the legal custody process is referred to as the "allocation of parental responsibilities" (APR). APR determines the amount of parenting time that is allocated to either parent. Both parents can mutually agree or allow the court to decide for them based on the best interest of the child. Parental responsibility can be divided into two categories — joint and sole arrangements.

Joint Parental Responsibility

Joint parental responsibility occurs when both parents share the physical and legal custody rights. The child may spend some nights at one parent's house and the rest of the week at the other parent's house. Both parents are custodial parents and can make significant decisions about the child, including education, religion, and medical treatment.

Sole Parental Responsibility

Sole parental responsibility occurs when only one parent is given exclusive legal and physical custody rights to the child. The non-custodial parent may still be given visitation rights, but only the custodial parent can make major decisions for the child.

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

In a divorce, custody of children is categorized into two elements — physical and legal custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody has to do with the routine daily care and control of a child. The parent with physical custody will be responsible for:

  • Making decisions about the regular day-to-day activities of the child

  • Determining where the child lives

  • Taking the child to school

  • Taking the child to extracurricular activities and appointments

  • Preparing meals, bathing, and disciplining the child

Legal Custody

Legal custody has to do with a parent's rights and responsibilities. The parent with legal custody will be responsible for making major decisions concerning the child, such as the child's education, health care, religious training, upbringing, and extracurricular activities.

Factors Considered in Determining Custody

Colorado law presumes that it is usually in the child's best interest to have frequent contact with both parents and have both parties participate in the upbringing of their child. According to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-124 (1.5)(a, b), the following factors will be considered in order to allocate parental rights based on the best interest of the child:

  • The wishes of both parents

  • The child's reasonable wishes or preference

  • The relationships between parents, siblings, extended family, and parents' significant others

  • The school, home, and community to which the child is accustomed

  • The physical and mental health of both parents and the child

  • The ability of both parents to cooperate and encourage positive relationships between the child and the other parent

  • The parents' behavior in the past, such as spending time with the child, keeping commitments, personal values, and supporting the child and the other parent

  • The distance between both parents' homes

  • The willingness of each parent to put their child's best interests first

  • The ability of each parent to make decisions together to benefit the child

  • The type of custody arrangement that would offer the most time with each parent

Work with an Experienced Attorney

Determining child custody rights is often a contentious issue. Allocating parental rights, agreeing on parental responsibility with your estranged spouse, and allocating parenting time can make the entire process stressful. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney is paramount for proper guidance and to protect your family's future.

At Snodgrass Family Law, our attorneys have devoted their careers to offering outstanding legal services and detailed guidance to individuals and families in their child custody cases. As your legal counsel, we will review your situation, help you understand your legal options, and guide you through the process of allocating parental rights or modifying custody arrangements. Our team will work diligently with all parties involved to protect your legal rights, your future, and your family's best interests.

Child Custody Attorneys
Serving Lakewood, Colorado

If you are trying to establish or modify a child custody agreement, contact us at Snodgrass Family Law today to schedule a consultation. Our team of skilled attorneys can offer you the experienced legal counsel, support, and reliable advocacy you need to navigate important decisions. We proudly serve clients across Lakewood, Frisco, Golden, Littleton, and the greater Denver area, Colorado.