On behalf of Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C. posted in child custody on Monday, July 25, 2016.
When divorcing Colorado parents cannot agree on custody matters, a court may decide the issue for them. This may result in joint or sole physical custody depending on how parenting responsibilities have been shared during the marriage.
If one parent carried the burden of caring for the child, the judge will usually award physical custody to this primary caretaker. Psychologists believe keeping the child with the primary caretaker is in the best interest of the child. It is a bond that should not be broken as it helps the child grow up more smoothly, contributing to the child’s stability.
Key factors that are used to determine who the primary caretaker is include helping the child bathe and dress, meal planning and preparation, helping with homework, encouraging the child to participate in extracurricular and leisure activities, attending school conferences, and making decisions on medical care. If one parent smokes, that may tip the judge’s decision toward the other parent. If both parents shared equally in the responsibilities, of caring for their child, the court may look at other factors, including who the child wants to live with, the parents’ physical and mental health, any abuse by one parent, a parent’s abuse of drugs or alcohol, the child’s age and sex, and religious preferences.
When parents disagree on physical child custody, they may need help in working out a parenting plan early in the divorce process. They can often get assistance from their respective family law attorneys in this regard. If negotiations break down, in some cases mediation can be a useful process.