Split Custody: Will the Court Split Up My Children?

Several factors determine child custody arrangements in Colorado. However, the ultimate deciding factor in the court’s custody decision is the children’s best interests.

The following outlines child custody decisions in Colorado and how the best interests of the child standard could affect a sibling custody arrangement. For case-specific information, speak with an experienced Broomfield child custody attorney.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Colorado

Colorado no longer uses the term “child custody.” Instead, the state refers to child custody as Allocation of Parental Responsibilities or APR.

There are three types of parental responsibilities. These are decision-making responsibilities, formerly legal custody, and parenting-time responsibilities, formerly physical custody. The third parental responsibility is a parent’s child support obligation.

Parents may jointly hold parental responsibilities or share a combination of the two. It is rare for the court to order sole decision-making responsibility and parenting-time responsibility in Colorado without proof of parental unfitness.

The Best Interests of the Child in Colorado

The court will only consider separating siblings if it is in their best interests. The child’s best interests prevail over any parents’ wishes in Colorado.

These are statutory factors found in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-124. The best interest of the child factors include:

  1. The parents’ wishes;
  2. The child’s wishes “if he or she is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule.”;
  3. The relationship between the child and parents, siblings, and any other person who significantly affects the child’s best interests;
  4. The child’s adjustment to home, school and community;
  5. Mental & physical health of everyone involved (but disability alone cannot be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time);
  6. The parties’ abilities to encourage sharing of love, affection & contact between the child and other parent (but actions to protect a child from witnessing or suffering abuse shall not be considered for this factor;
  7. Whether the parties past involvement shows a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support;
  8. How far apart the parties live; and
  9. The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs.

The court’s order will reflect the siblings’ best interests, including their health, safety, welfare, and emotional and psychological needs. While a sibling preference may be considered, the court need not follow that preference.

The court may not express a preference for one gender over the other in an APR decision.

Contact an Experienced Broomfield Child Custody Attorney with Your Questions

If you have questions or concerns about an upcoming child custody dispute, call the family law attorneys at Danielsen Westhoff, PC. We understand how difficult child custody decisions are and will help you make choices that can positively impact your children and future.

Retaining experienced counsel from Danielsen Westhoff, PC, can significantly reduce your stress and anxiety. We will stand beside you throughout your child custody case and protect your rights.

Reach out to Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today at (720) 927-9238 or contact us online to schedule your confidential consultation.