Colorado allows parents to draft their own parenting plan that the court must then approve. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the judge puts together a plan for them. In Colorado, child custody is also known as parental responsibility.
Types of custody
The state makes decisions on which parent gets legal custody and which gets physical custody. Parents who have legal custody have the authority to make decisions for the child, such as:
- Where they live
- Where they go to school
- If they go to church or participate in religion
Physical custody is with whom the child lives. Courts prefer to rule joint child custody for both types. If one of the parents is unfit, uninterested, neglectful or abusive, then the judge will lean toward giving the other parent sole custody.
When a parent has sole custody, the court will allow visitation rights based on how responsible the other parent is. If the other parent has a history of abusing their child, then the court may only allow supervised visitation. In a severe situation, the parent may lose the right to visit their child for the sake of the child’s safety. If one parent has a history of domestic violence against the other parent in front of the child, then they may also lose custody and visitation rights. In Colorado, you only have to prove domestic violence by a preponderance of the evidence.
Grandparent visitation rights
Colorado recognizes grandparent visitation rights, so you may have to include this in your co-parenting plan. However, the state cannot limit a parent’s right to raise their child.
If a child is mature enough to have an independent opinion, the judge may consider what the child wants when making child custody decisions. There is not a specific age at which the court must take a child’s wishes into consideration.
Understanding the basics can help
Knowing the basics of Colorado’s child custody laws could make the divorce process less stressful and provide a better understanding of the legal ins and outs of coparenting or dealing with unreliable coparent. It is also important to know how to exercise a parent’s rights.