What does joint custody look like following divorce?

Dissolving your marriage can certainly be a tough emotional process for you and the other party. However, if the two of you have minor children together, the divorce process can take a toll on them, too.

A major question you must tackle while going through the divorce process is who will end up receiving custody of the children. The reality is that joint custody, where you both share custody of the children to an extent, is a possibility. Here is a look at how joint custody works in Colorado.

A look at joint custody

Joint custody comes in two forms: joint legal and joint physical custody. In an arrangement that involves true joint custody, both you and the other party would share legal and physical custody of your children. Simply put, you both would work together to make decisions concerning the upbringing of your children as well as their welfare (legal custody). Also, you would spend equal amounts of time with the children, tending to their needs.

As an example, your children could spend the month of January with you, reside with your future-ex in February, and so on. In addition, you would collaborate on major decisions no matter where the children were staying. This type of custody arrangement, however, is rare because it may not be feasible to send the children back and forth between two homes. This can quickly disrupt their routines and lead to stress for the entire family.

The joint legal custody option

A much more common child custody arrangement is joint legal custody. With this arrangement, both parents can make critical decisions about the children. However, the children would reside with just one parent, meaning that only one parent would receive physical custody. However, the other parent can still visit with their children.

Your rights when it comes to child custody

If you can come up with a parenting agreement with your future ex during your divorce proceeding, you can avoid having to rely on a judge to make your child custody decisions for you. You can create this type of agreement through informal negotiations or divorce mediation, for example.

Still, if coming up with a parenting agreement is not possible, you can still pursue child custody at trial. The judge will take into consideration multiple factors when making a custody determination but will most importantly concentrate on what is in the best interests of your children long term.