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Parker Child Custody Attorneys

Reliable Child Custody Lawyers Serving Residents of Parker, CO

When your marriage is ending or your relationship is falling apart, you may find yourself asking an array of questions related to your kids. Where will they live and go to school? How is visitation decided? How will their financial needs be met? The family law firm of Plog & Stein, P.C., has been helping Parker custody clients deal with these types of questions for over two decades. Our attorneys focus solely on legal issues regarding divorce and custody. We understand the importance of securing the best possible outcomes for you and your children. Our Parker child custody attorneys will review your case, assess your options, and help you decide the best course of action.

When negotiating a settlement or proceeding to trial, having the right family law firm matters. At Plog & Stein, we understand the Colorado laws related to custody and are familiar with the courts we work in. We use our experience and knowledge for the benefit of our clients as we help them navigate the legal process.

We offer professional representation with all custody issues, including, but not limited to:

Let us put our negotiation and litigation skills to work for you!

Protecting Your Child Custody and Visitation Rights In Parker

Your children are, and always will be, your babies. In any situation, including divorce, you want to protect their safety and well-being, as well as maximize the time you can spend with them. If you and the other parent can reach a consensus on what’s best for your children, you may be able to resolve custody in a written agreement. Colorado encourages this type of mutual agreement without court intervention. However, it is common for people to disagree on some issues, such as a specific visitation schedule or where the child will reside. If you cannot agree on all terms, your case will ultimately be decided by the court. Judges serving the Parker area (Douglas County) and across the state of Colorado make custody determinations based on what they perceive to be in your child’s best interest. Having an experienced attorney will help you protect your child’s well-being and your parental rights.

Parental Responsibilities

In Colorado, child custody is known as “parental responsibility” and has two main elements, physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves both the primary residence of the child and visitation rights with the parents, known as “parenting time.” Legal custody determines who gets to make major decisions for the child, referred to as “decision-making responsibility.” Examples of decision-making topics include medical treatment, educational services, and religious upbringing. In most instances, both parties share joint parental responsibility and can work together to make major decisions for the children. In some cases, joint decision-making may not be appropriate, or practical and other arrangements must be made.

Custody battles often arise around parenting time. Parents may not agree on the child’s primary residence, or one parent may believe 50/50 parenting time would be be best, but the other does not. Disputes also pop up related to holidays, breaks, and vacations.  Parker clients working with a parenting time lawyer can get help navigating these disputes in court.

Best Interests of the Child

When a court is reviewing disputes over parental responsibilities, judges consider everything in light of the “best interests of the child.” “Best interests” is a loose term, and judges have great latitude when it comes to entering custody and parenting time orders. The child’s well-being, safety, and happiness are always paramount.

Factors considered for parenting time

When addressing the issue of parenting time and the best interests of the child, judges may take into consideration the following factors:

  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The wishes of the child if the child is mature enough to express their own preferences;
  • The child’s family interactions;
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, or community;
  • The mental and physical health of the parents and child;
  • The ability of the parents to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact with the co-parent;
  • Whether the parents’ history of involvement with the child reflects a system of values and mutual support;
  • How close the parents live to each other; and
  • The ability of each parent to place the child’s needs ahead of their own.

The court will look at these factors to help make the determination as to where the child will reside and how visitation will be allocated between the parents.

Factors considered for decision-making responsibility

When addressing the best interests of the child related to decision-making responsibilities, the court may consider factors such as:

  • Whether the parents can cooperate and make joint decisions;
  • Whether the parents’ past behavior indicates that they can work together to support the child; and
  • Whether making decisions together will promote regular contact between the child and each parent.

Generally, courts favor joint decision-making responsibility. There are times when certain decisions are put in one parent’s hands over the other based on the circumstances.

How an Parker Parenting Time Attorney Can Help

When facing child custody issues, the key is working with your Parker parenting time attorneys to assess what’s best for your kids, the strengths and weaknesses of your positions, and the legal realities. Each case is truly different and the detail put into the analysis, as well as settlement or trial efforts, are paramount. A good, child-centered visitation schedule can greatly benefit your children as they transition into the new “normal.” Sometimes getting there may also necessitate using a child custody expert, such as a Child and Family Investigator, to apprise the parties and court regarding the children’s needs. It is vital that you get the advice of a Parker child custody attorney who is familiar with the law. An attorney can help you put your best foot forward when dealing with the court, experts, and the other side.

Parker Child Custody Attorney FAQs

Can the Child Choose Where They Live?

A child’s voice in the decision as to where they will live may be considered by the court in some circumstances.

Colorado looks to the best interests of the child when making decisions regarding a custody arrangement. The court will take into account both parents’ views on custody, as well as the age of the child, the child’s interactions with parents and siblings, community adjustments, the physical and mental health of the parents, and the willingness of parents to share custody. A judge may also factor in the child’s wishes. There is no set age when a child can make their own decision about who they want to live with. However, judges typically consider the wishes of a child only if they are old enough or mature enough to make a reasoned and informed decision. But every case is different. And the child’s opinion will not be the sole determining factor of where the child will reside.

Can a Parenting Time Agreement Be Changed?

Yes. Modifications and changes can be made to parenting time agreements. Courts understand that changes in life happen and modifications may need to be made. A parent can request to modify an existing court order if circumstances change. The court will assess whether the requested modification is in the best interest of the child.

How Is Parenting Time Classified?

Parenting time is calculated based on the provisions of your divorce decree. A schedule that gives parents anywhere from a 75/25 split to a 50/50 split of overnights is generally considered to be joint physical custody in Colorado. Every parenting time agreement is different based on the specific circumstances of the case.

What Can You Do If There Is a Parenting Time Violation?

Parenting plans or parenting time agreements are legally binding court orders in Colorado. If the other parent violates the parenting time agreement, your attorney can file a motion for noncompliance or to enforce parenting time. An example of a violation might include your ex not allowing you to have your court-ordered visitations with your child.

Once a motion is filed with the court, the court determines whether there has been a failure to comply with the parenting time order. If the court finds there was a violation, it may issue one or more of the following:

  • An order modifying the previous order;
  • An order keeping the previous order but imposing additional terms and conditions to promote the best interests of the child;
  • An order requiring either parent to participate in a parental education program;
  • An order to engage in family counseling;
  • An order requiring the violating parent to post a bond or security;
  • An order for makeup parenting time;
  • An order holding a parent in contempt of court, which may impose a fine or jail sentence;
  • An order to pay a civil fine; or
  • Any other order to promote the best interests of the child.

If you believe your co-parent is responsible for violating the terms of the parenting time agreement, talk with your attorney to learn what options are available.

Seek the Help of Skilled Child Custody Attorneys in Parker

Contact the team at Plog & Stein, P.C. to discuss your Parker child custody case or other family law need, such as spousal support or child support modification. Our attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience. We have extensive experience litigating all types of custody issues, both simple and complex, and we know the family courts in your community. Call us at 303-781-0322 or contact our family law attorneys online. We will help you in your fight for what’s best for your children.