Danielsen Westhoff, PC

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Child's best interests are the focus of parental responsibilities

If you are an active and involved parent, the most difficult part of a divorce might be the prospect of not seeing your children on a daily basis. However, divorce does not necessarily mean that one parent will be awarded sole physical custody while the other is relegated to only minimal visitation. Your parental responsibilities will likely end up being unique to you and your situation.

Although still colloquially called custody, Colorado officially switched from "child custody" to "parental responsibilities" back in 1999. This name change puts an emphasis on the role that parents play in these arrangements and eases off the notion that custody is something that makes one parent a winner, and the other a loser.

What are parental responsibilities?

Parental responsibilities cover both legal parental responsibilities (legal custody) and physical custody. They are usually decided by the family law court, which always focuses on the child's best interests. These interests can sometimes differ from the desires of the parents. Still, courts usually grant joint legal responsibilities to most parents. This gives both parents the legal right to make decisions concerning:

  • Education
  • Religion
  • Healthcare
  • And more

Is 50/50 custody possible?

Family law courts still struggle with finding a way to implement this type of shared custody arrangement, especially when parents live far from one another or one parent lives in another state. This does not mean that is impossible for you and your ex to have shared physical custody, but you will need to be vigilant when advocating for your child's best interests, which might be to retain equal access to both parents.

If the courts decide against 50/50 shared parental responsibilities, they will still create an arrangement with shared parenting time that is unique to your personal situation. This means that one parent will have primary physical custody, while the other will have some type of visitation schedule.

Where to turn for guidance and support

Divorce can be a difficult and tumultuous period for parents and kids alike, and Colorado parents can expect that the court will have their children's best interests at heart. Still, when it comes to your children, it is best to be as thoroughly prepared as possible. An experienced attorney who is intimately familiar with the family law court system can provide invaluable guidance and a sense of peace as you proceed through this challenging time.

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