Child Custody Attorneys In Denver Colorado
Top-rated Denver divorce attorneys, where clients matter most.
When children are involved, the divorce process doesn’t end once the final paperwork is filed. With children come often contentious and painful negotiations about – and modification of – parental rights, parenting time, and custody.
Today, these already complicated issues are further challenged by increasing needs of parents to relocate due to financial challenges brought on by the Great Recession. Additionally, non-married couples who separate but have children together also face sensitive and difficult decisions about children when they separate.
Our team has deep experience dealing with child custody and parental rights issues – and we believe it is our duty and an imperative to help couples address custody and rights issues in ways that reduce the impact of divorce and protect children in the process.
Protecting Your Children
You’ll have many questions about custody issues – and those questions will last a lifetime. Early decisions and legal intervention when children are involved can prevent painful and costly modifications and changes in the future.
Contact us today for a consultation to understand your parental rights and make decisions that are in the best interests of divorce’s most vulnerable parties.
Divorce Matters® is a Denver Colorado divorce attorney law firm. We provide information and services including the divorce process through the courts, division of marital property, assets as well as debts and parental rights regarding biological and adopted children.
Denver Child Custody Considerations
Parental Responsibilities is comprised of two main components that factor into the overall childcare plan.
The first is parenting time. This is the scheduled overnights when your child is physically with you or the other party. This would also include vacation time and holiday parenting time.
The second, is decision making. Decision making refers to who will make the major decisions regarding the child. Before your divorce, this area of parental responsibilities refers to decisions you would have made with your then spouse. These are things such as religion, education, medical care and extracurriculars.
In cases where the parents cannot communicate effectively, the court can award sole decision making to one of the parents.
Contested Parental Responsibility Cases
In contested cases, it is common to have an expert appointed to the case to help the court in determining what is in the best interests of the child. In these cases, a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE) are the experts appointed by the court to investigate the parenting time issues and provide a report to the court with recommendations regarding parenting time and decision making.
The standard applied to determine the allocation of parental responsibilities is “what is in the best interest of the child”. In determining the parties’ parenting time, the court considers the following criteria:
- The wishes of the parents
- the wishes of the child if the child is sufficiently mature to express preferences
- the interaction of the child with his/her parents and siblings
- the child’s adjustment to home, school & community
- the mental and physical health of all parties
- the ability of the parent to put the child’s needs above their own
- the ability of the parties to foster a loving relationship between the child and the other parent
- whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support
- the physical proximity of the parents to the child
- any allegations of child abuse & domestic violence
Relocating With Children After Divorce
During a dissolution of marriage, some spouses consider relocating to another state, whether it be to pursue a new job opportunity, to be closer to family, or to get a fresh start. But, when children are involved, spouses may wonder whether a court will “allow” them to relocate or force them to remain in Colorado in order to have primary custody or have parenting time with their children. If you are considering a relocation following a dissolution of marriage involving children, and you state your intention to relocate to the court, then the court must create a parenting plan taking into account the fact that you will not reside in Colorado, even if you admit to the court that you would not relocate if the children are ordered to remain in Colorado.
In a recent Colorado Court of Appeals decision, In re Marriage of Morgan, the mother notified the court through a written notice of intent to relocate, at temporary orders hearing, via two parental responsibility evaluators, in the joint trial management certificate, and at the permanent orders hearing, of her intent to relocate to California. However, following the permanent orders hearing, the court ordered that the children remain in Colorado, additionally finding it would be in the children’s best interests if the parents exercised a year-round 5-2-2-5 parenting time schedule, which would be nearly impossible to implement if the mother, in fact, relocated to California. The Court of Appeals reversed the court’s decision, even though the mother indicated that she would not relocate if the children were ordered to remain in Colorado, given the number of times that the mother told the court of her intent to move to California.
A domestic relations court has no authority to order a spouse to live in a specific location. Rather, the court must accept the location in which both spouses intend to live, and allocate parental responsibilities, including parenting time, accordingly. If you intend on relocating following a dissolution of marriage, you should make your intent clear to the court early and as often as possible. If you do so, it does not matter whether you admit that you would not relocate if the children were ordered to remain in Colorado. The court cannot force you to remain in Colorado and must create a parenting plan in accordance with where you and your ex-spouse will reside following the divorce. The court may only fashion a parenting plan which includes you remaining in Colorado as an alternative, i.e., if you decide to remain in Colorado instead of relocating.
Contact Us Today
Why not start exploring your options? Call us at 720.542.6142 to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced Denver divorce attorneys today.
Our highly-accomplished divorce and family law attorneys practice throughout Colorado, including: Adams County (Arvada, Aurora, Brighton, Thornton, Westminster); Arapahoe County (Aurora, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Littleton); Boulder County; Broomfield County; Denver County; Douglas County (Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker); Elbert County (Elizabeth, Kiowa); and Jefferson County (Arvada, Golden, Lakewood, Morrison, Wheat Ridge).
Words From Our Clients
“I appreciated that not only did Will know law like I know my colors, but he was a counselor as well and guided me through the process. I was nervous many times but was able to fully out my trust in what he was doing and I couldn't be happier. I will continue to refer people to him as o hear of those needing assistance.”K.S.
“Going through a challenging divorce is hell, your team had my back and represented me with a solid council. I have my daughters and got to stay in Colorado with them. I cannot thank you enough.”M.B.
“Keep doing what you doing your firm rocks!”C.K.