Some Colorado fathers who are divorced or who are not married to the mother of their children might feel the system is unfairly against them. While courts are supposed to treat mothers and fathers equally, over four-fifths of custodial parents are mothers. Meanwhile, fathers may face serious consequences for failing to pay child support or might not be able to get access to their children because of a protection order or because they were not listed on the birth certificate.
Most experts agree that even if they are struggling, fathers should try to pay some portion of child support. This may keep the most serious penalties, such as jail time, from being imposed. One man who went to jail because of falling behind on child support lost his job and had to file for bankruptcy. Fathers may want to hire an attorney and ask a court for a modification if they have had a change in circumstances such as a loss of income.
A court will grant a protection order if it believes a parent is unsafe around the children. Parents whose access to their children has been blocked may also want to consult an attorney. Unmarried fathers may need to go through the court system to first prove paternity and then get custody or visitation rights.
It may help a person dealing with family law court to understand a few presumptions the court generally makes. One is that biological parents are obligated to support their children. Another is that decisions about custody and visitation should be made in the best interests of the child. Usually, it is considered in the child’s best interests to have contact with both parents, but this is not the case if the child is unsafe with one parent. Courts will also consider which parent is the main caregiver when making a custody decision.