Westminster Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody cases are never easy for parents. It is stressful to make decisions that impact your child’s life and overall well-being knowing you cannot control your co-parent’s reaction.
At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, we want to alleviate some of your anxiety. Our Westminster child custody attorneys can help you prepare for an initial child custody hearing, or custody trial, or work with you to modify an existing child custody order.
You do not have to face your co-parent or their attorney alone. Reach out to Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today at (720) 739-1770 to schedule your confidential child custody consultation.
Why Choose Danielsen Westhoff, PC, for Your Child Custody Matter?
At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, we handle all areas of family law. Our Westminster family law attorneys can work with you on a stand-alone child custody case or child custody in the wake of a divorce, parentage, or legal separation.
Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and experienced litigators. Danielsen Westhoff, PC, can also assist you during the mediation process to make sure any agreements reached are in your and your child’s best interests.
At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, we take preparation seriously. While most family matters never reach trial, we will build your case as if it is going before the court. This allows Danielsen Westhoff, PC, to respond quickly and intelligently to arguments from the other party.
For more information about the benefits of retaining Danielsen Westhoff, PC, schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated family law attorneys at (720) 739-1770. You can also send us a message online.
Child Custody in Colorado
Colorado refers to child custody as the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. Parental responsibilities may be parenting time or decision-making responsibilities held by one parent alone, both parents jointly, or some combination of the two.
Physical and Legal Child Custody in Colorado
Parenting time responsibilities (physical custody) of a child may reside with one or both parents depending on the number of overnights each parent has with the child. Joint parenting time requires both parents to have more than 90 overnights per year with their child.
Parenting time responsibilities are child-rearing duties such as meeting a child’s physical, emotional, and social needs. Whereas, decision-making responsibilities (legal custody) of a child are the ability of a parent to make important decisions in a child’s life.
These include a child’s:
- Religious upbringing
- Medical care
- Extracurricular activities
Ultimately, all child custody decisions in Colorado are based on the best interests of the child.
The Best Interests of the Child Standard
Colorado’s best interests of the child standard may be found under Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-124. This statute outlines factors for the court to consider when making child custody decisions.
The court will examine the following before entering a child custody order:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of a child of sufficient maturity
- Any existing familial relationships
- The child’s ability to adjust to their home, school, and outside activities
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love and affection between the child and the other parent
- The prior involvement of each parent in the child’s life
- The geographical distance between the parents’ homes
- The ability of the parents to make joint decisions and cooperate
- The ability of the parents to place the child’s needs above their own
- Any history of child abuse or neglect
- Any history of domestic violence between the parents
Colorado does not give preference to parents based on gender. Parents who can work together for the benefit of their children are more likely to share parental responsibilities.
Whenever possible, Colorado’s preference is that a child have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The court can require supervised parenting time or deny parental contact with a child altogether if there is evidence of domestic violence, child neglect, or child abuse.
Parenting Plans in Colorado
Parents who agree on parenting time and decision-making responsibilities can create their own parenting plan for approval by the court. Any agreed plan must be in the child’s best interests, not the parents, or it will not meet the court’s scrutiny.
Parents who disagree on issues may work any problems out in mediation or the court may enter orders on their behalf.
Modifying Child Custody in Colorado
Parenting plans can be modified in Colorado. However, there must be a provable change in circumstances affecting the best interests of the child before the court will grant a modification.
A modification may be possible in the event of:
- Parental illness
- Domestic violence
- Parental death
- Parental relocation
- A threat to the health, safety, or welfare needs of the child
A parent wishing to change or modify their parenting plan should contact their co-parent before filing a court action. Mutual agreements do not carry the same risk and expense as court actions.
Mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution can also be effective at securing modifications to a parenting plan. Speak with a child custody attorney to learn the specific steps in procuring a child custody modification.
Emergency Custody Orders in Colorado
When a parent files an emergency motion to restrict the other parent’s parenting time, there is a court hearing within 14 days. While the hearing is pending, the other parent’s parenting time is restricted to supervised parenting time.
Emergency child custody orders are meant to protect children who are in immediate danger of neglect, abuse, kidnapping, sudden death, or incapacitation by one or both parents. In an emergency custody order, the court orders a temporary allocation of parenting time to another party to ensure a child’s health, safety, and welfare.
Contact an Experienced Westminster Child Custody Attorney Today
Child custody is complex in Colorado. It helps to have an experienced Westminster child custody attorney to guide you through the legal process.
Regardless of your child custody issues, Danielsen Westhoff, PC, can help. We are dedicated family law attorneys concerned with your right to quality legal representation at a price you can afford.
Contact Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today for answers to your child custody questions and have your legal concerns addressed. We offer full-service family law representation. You can reach our Westminster office today by calling (720) 739-1770 or contacting us online.