Skilled Attorneys Manage Child Custody Disputes in Greenwood Village, CO
Resolving issues vital to your child’s future
Establishing appropriate child custody arrangements can be one of the most difficult challenges a parent faces during divorce. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Leonard R. Higdon are dedicated to protecting your rights to raise your child in a healthy, supportive environment. We are adept at finding creative solutions for even the most contentious custody battles through negotiation and mediation. However, if your child’s welfare requires you to litigate your custody dispute, you can trust us to fight aggressively to obtain the outcome that is best for your son or daughter.
What factors do courts use to determine child custody?
In Colorado, child custody is divided into two categories: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the rights and duties associated with having your children reside with you. Legal custody is the authority to make major decisions affecting your children’s health and welfare. Each type of custody can be awarded to one parent (sole) or both (joint). The amount of time a child resides with each parent impacts the amount of child support a custodial parent receives.
Generally, family law courts in Colorado favor joint physical and legal custody whenever practicable. Factors the court considers when making these decisions include:
- The existing parent-child relationship
- The ability of the parent to provide a suitable residence for the child
- The ability of the parent to act as a primary caretaker
- The need for stability in the child’s life
- The child’s special needs, if any
- The child’s preference, if he or she is mature enough to offer one
- The likelihood that a parent who is granted custody will encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.
Although courts will consider any pertinent facts, the overriding consideration is the best interests of the child. Colorado courts will not enforce terms of a prenuptial agreement related to child custody.
How do visitation rights work in Colorado?
Should one parent be awarded primary physical custody, the court typically grants visitation to the other. Again, the “best interests of the child” standard is used. It is the custodial parent’s duty to prepare the child for visits, which should be frequent and lengthy enough to allow the noncustodial parent and child to maintain a loving relationship.
Colorado also recognizes the visitation rights of grandparents in certain situations, especially if a positive bond with the child exists and the child’s nuclear family is no longer intact, due to divorce or the death of a parent.
When and how can the custody agreement be modified?
Courts are willing to revisit custody agreements if one parent refuses to abide by the terms of the court order, or if changed circumstances compel a different arrangement. If, for example, a custodial parent consistently interferes with the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights, the court could order joint physical custody as a remedy.
A common reason to petition the court for a modification is a relocation. If you have custody of your child and want to move somewhere else, that would could infringe on the other parent’s visitation rights. Accordingly, this type of move requires notice to your co-parent and could prompt a court hearing. Our attorneys capably represent parents seeking and opposing custody modifications.
Reliable counsel provides advantages in mediation
Children are best served when parents maintain a cordial relationship. Through the structured process of mediation, couples can often set aside hostility and agree on key decisions affecting their children. Mediation can be a highly effective tool for parents to preserve their children’s well-being and the stability of their lives during the turbulent divorce process. Discussing parenting plans with the assistance of a qualified third party takes some of the stress out of child custody conflicts and puts important child-rearing decisions in the hands of the parents rather than the court. Our attorneys meticulously develop mediation strategies that carefully guide the negotiating process toward healthy resolution.
Firm delivers effective advocacy in family court litigation
In some cases, litigation is necessary to protect a child’s best interests. When one parent refuses to compromise or expresses hostility toward the other parent, negotiations usually fail. Sometimes a parent may even pose a danger to the child’s well-being. In these cases, litigation is the most appropriate forum for establishing parental rights. Our firm’s methodical approach to litigation enables you to feel confident that your children are protected, and your parental rights are secure.
Contact a Greenwood Village child custody lawyer today for a free consultation
The Law Offices of Leonard R. Higdon in Greenwood Village, CO provides professional representation for clients in all types of child custody matters. Call 303-740-1966 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.