How is Custody and Time with Your Children Determined After a Divorce?
Deciding child custody and parenting time is often the most difficult part of divorce cases because most parents want to ensure they remain a primary part of their children’s lives. Creating a parenting plan that will not only dictate how important decisions are made but also protect the children’s best interests is much easier said than done.
Custody cases are emotional, tense, and stressful. Many parents in the process of finalizing a divorce need help understanding how to move forward. The experienced and caring divorce lawyers at Timlin Law Firm have handled tough custody cases in Colorado and can help you address your concerns while keeping your children first.
Determining Parental Responsibility
In the state of Colorado, what’s known as the “allocation of parental responsibility” is used to address parenting rights and responsibilities. Parental responsibility encompasses two important issues when it comes to child custody and visitation: parenting time and decision-making. In custody cases, a parenting plan must be determined that sufficiently lays out how co-parenting will be approached and how joint decisions regarding your children will be made.
Parenting Time – This includes what the children’s regular schedule between the two parents will look like such as visitations, pick-up and drop-off arrangements, and holidays.
Decision-Making – How will two parties make decisions regarding their children? An important portion of determining parental responsibility in a custody case, decision-making refers to how major decisions will be made between two parents. This can include everything from medical treatment, education, and religion, to extracurricular activities. In addition to “how” decisions will be made, this can also determine “who” will be making the decisions for the children. Both parties can be required to make decisions jointly or one person can be given the sole responsibility.
The court requires a solid parenting plan to be established whether the two parties come to an agreement and the court accepts that agreement or the court hears evidence and orders the division of parental responsibility.
Factors that Can Affect Custody
While equal parent involvement and a 50/50 split of parental responsibility is ideal, it is, sadly, not always the reality. The court’s’ primary focus is always on the child’s best interest. To determine what is best for the child, the court takes many variables into consideration such as:
- Do both parents have a safe, stable environment for the children to stay?
- The mental and physical health of all those involved. Is alcohol or drugs in the picture?
- Is each parent located conveniently to the children’s school?
- Is the physical proximity of the two parents to each other practical for splitting parenting time?
- Credible evidence of the ability of the parties to cooperate and to make decisions jointly
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support that would indicate an ability as mutual decision makers to provide a positive and nourishing relationship with the child.
All of these factors and more will play a part in how the court decides if one parent will have less responsibility than the other.
The Importance of Hiring a Skilled, Knowledgeable, and Caring Divorce Attorney
In child custody cases, having an experienced attorney on your side is necessary to protect your rights as a parent. If you’re going through the process of finalizing a divorce and are worried about the allocation of parental responsibility, you need a knowledgeable attorney from Timlin Law Firm to guide you through the difficult process. We have helped countless Colorado parents approach custody and parenting time to ensure they are building the best possible future for their children.
Our caring team understands how rocky custody cases can be. That’s why we are prepared to fight for your parental rights so you can focus on the needs of your children. Determining custody after a divorce can be complex if you aren’t familiar with the legal system and state laws. An attorney from Timlin Law Firm can provide the support you need and ensure you’re in the best position to move forward. Please don’t hesitate to call our office today at xxxxx with any questions.