Arapahoe County Child Custody Lawyer
Perhaps one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce is dealing with child custody issues. While some parents are able to make a custody determination on their own, there is often disagreement between parents and the potential for hurt, disappointment, or frustration. Because this process is complex and involves such high stakes — the well-being of your children — it is not wise to represent yourself. The experienced child custody attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. employ both understanding and knowledge to advocate for your position, and to make this difficult process easier for you and your children. Our Arapahoe County child custody lawyers have represented many Colorado residents over the years and are adept at assessing your case, how a court might deal with the custody aspects of that case, and whether a child expert, such as a Child and Family Investigator might be needed to provide more information or insights to the court. We are skilled in both negotiating custody agreements and litigating custody and visitation matters in the courtroom.
How Do Colorado Courts Determine Custody?
Child custody issues in Colorado revolve around residential parental responsibility (known as “physical custody” in other states), parenting time (“visitation” in other states), and decision-making (“legal custody” in other states). Courts consider several factors in determining each of these custody issues. The primary area of contention in Colorado custody cases, including those in Arapahoe County, centers around parenting time and residential custody. In making a custody determination, the court will evaluate some of the following factors listed in C.R.S. 14-10-124:
- The parents’ wishes
- The child’s relationship with each parent as well as siblings
- The location of the child’s school, home, and community as well as the geographic proximity of the parents after their separation or divorce in relation to those places
- The mental and physical health of every family member
- The child’s wishes
Though equal parenting time has definitely become the norm in Colorado, judges are not likely to grant equal visitation when a parent has neglected or abused the child, or children. Likewise, a parent seeking equal visitation must be available for the children, and to share in the day to day responsibilities required to raise them. If you believe that your spouse or former spouse has abused or neglected the children, you will need credible evidence of this in order to present a request for sole residential and decision-making custody to the court. Allegations of spousal abuse or substance abuse, supported by credible evidence, may also affect the court’s decision. Though “50/50” visitation is certainly the norm, it’s not automatic and should not always be presumed, by either side.
Judges who generally plan to award parents equal decision-making (legal custody) focus on the relationships of each family member. One of the biggest concerns is whether the parents are able to make decisions together. Shared parental responsibilities regarding the making of major decisions is the norm, but can be more difficult if the parents are at constant loggerheads about what decisions would serve their child’s best interests.
Judges also want to see that each parent has a loving relationship with the child. The courts look most favorably upon parents who place the child’s needs above their own. They will also consider each parent’s past pattern of involvement with the child, and what custody arrangement will ensure that both parents continue to have frequent contact with the child.
Knowledgeable Child Custody Attorneys in Arapahoe County
At Plog & Stein, P.C., we prepare every case thoroughly, and advocate persistently until resolution is reached, either through mediation, negotiated settlement, or trial. However, we are also aware of how expensive divorce and child custody proceedings can be for the average Colorado resident. Our experience allows us to be strategic and efficient, as well as detail-oriented.
Contact the experienced Arapahoe County child custody lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. at (303) 781-0322, or via our online form. Collectively, our lawyers have over 70 years of experience advocating for clients in Arapahoe County. We are dedicated to seeing you through this difficult time, and helping you achieve the best possible outcomes for your family.