Who Determines Child Custody and How?

Posted By Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.

27 Feb. 2017

When a marriage comes to an end, parents must decide how to divide their family and household in two. The most legally and emotionally difficult part of this undertaking is often determining child custody. If you are a divorcing parent, it is critical to understand how the process works and who has the final say in where your child will live.

A principle concept in all custody disputes is that decisions are to be made in the “best interest” of the child. Generally, this means that the arrangements which see a child is best cared and provided for will be considered over parental preferences. While parents are given an opportunity to reach terms on their own, the final order must still be approved by a judge. When parents cannot reach an agreement, unresolved issues will be decided in court.

Factors a judge may consider when determining child custody can include:

  • The physical and mental health of all involved parties
  • Ongoing relationships with siblings
  • Each parent’s ability to provide financial support
  • The stability and emotional support of each household
  • How a divorce affects educational prospects
  • If evidence of child abuse or domestic violence exists

Family courts in Colorado understand that it is important for both parents to be involved in a child’s life. Correspondingly, and in line with a child’s best interest, there is a strong preference towards awarding joint custody whenever possible. Under this arrangement, a child will spend an equal amount of time with each parent. In fact, sole custody agreements may only be considered if it can be shown that a parent is unfit. Sole custody may also be granted in cases where the alternative would be unrealistic, such as when parents live in different states.

While the points listed above are far from a complete list of factors which may come into play, they can provide some insight into the logic that goes into a custody award. In practice, any number of unique factors may influence the outcome of a court order and if you have specific questions, it may be time to contact an attorney.

Legal Help with Child Custody Disputes

When family law issues involve children, emotions can run high. Intense feelings of anger or distrust may often complicate dispute resolution efforts. At Jorgensen Brownell & Pepin P.C, we understand what you are going through and we know what’s on the line. Our Longmont divorce attorneys are backed by more than 25 years of legal experience and have helped hundreds of families in your situation. When you need compassionate, effective legal representatives in your corner, do not hesitate to contact our firm.

If you would like to learn more about your case, call (720) 809-8310.

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