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Child Custody in Colorado
Colorado parents who are splitting up or divorcing will have to make child custody decisions about their minor children. If you and your ex, with the help of Colorado child custody attorneys, are unable to reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement, then a Colorado judge will make custody decisions on your behalf.
The Basics of Colorado Child Custody
In Colorado, as in all states, child custody decisions focus on what is in the best interests of the child. In other words, which parent will provide a better home environment? Which parent is available to care for the child? Which home will provide the most stable upbringing? And with which parent does the child feel most comfortable? These factors and more go into child custody decisions.
When you split up, you and your child’s other parent should attempt to reach a child custody agreement. You’ll need to decide which parent will have primary physical custody of the child and which will have legal custody of the child. Physical custody refers to where the child lives, while legal custody refers to which parent is responsible for making major life decisions affecting the child. (In Colorado, these are also known as "allocation of parental responsibility" and "allocation of decision-making responsibility.")
There are typically two forms of custody: Sole custody and joint custody. When one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent will typically have visitation rights.
Parents who are splitting often have difficulty reaching child custody decisions, particularly if the break up is a bitter one. Your Colorado child custody attorney and your ex’s Colorado child custody lawyer may be able to serve as intermediaries, helping the two of you to reach a custody agreement without having to deal directly with one another.
Colorado child custody lawyers can also help you if you need to establish paternity.
After you’ve reached a child custody agreement, you, your ex and your Colorado child custody lawyers will submit the plan to the court, which will review and approve it. In Colorado, the district court handles family law issues, including child custody agreements.
The Basics of Colorado Child Support
Child support goes hand-in-hand with child custody decisions. According to the Colorado child support enforcement agency:
A basic support obligation is determined using the monthly gross incomes of both parents and information about what intact families spend on their children. The parents share the basic support obligation based upon their gross incomes. The noncustodial parent's share of the obligation establishes the amount of the child support order. The amount of child support a parent pays can also be affected by the amount of parenting time (visitation) with the child. The parents also share the costs for childcare, medical insurance and uninsured medical expenses. The child support amount calculated using the guidelines is accepted as appropriate unless either parent shows a reason for a deviation. If the noncustodial parent's monthly gross income is between $850 and $1,850 s/he may be eligible for a low-income adjustment to the amount of child support paid.
Colorado child support is typically paid until the child reaches the age of 19.
Either parent may request modification of the child support order. Child support payments are typically changed when there’s a significant change in finances. For example, if one parent loses a job or retires, or if the child’s expenses change drastically, either parent could ask the court to modify the child support agreement.
Reasons to Hire Colorado Child Custody Lawyers
Legally, you’re not required to use an attorney for your Colorado child custody and child support issues. But there are several reasons to hire a child custody lawyer in Colorado:
- Your lawyer will be familiar with Colorado child custody and support laws, as well as the court in which your case is being heard
- If your relationship with your ex is on shaky ground, your Colorado custody lawyer can serve as a buffer so you don’t have to deal with one another directly
- Child custody attorneys in Colorado have represented countless parents just like you, and your lawyer will help make sure you get a fair custody arrangement
Find & Hire a Child Custody Attorney in Colorado
Your next step is to find and hire a Colorado child custody lawyer, and you’ve come to the right site. Attorneys.com offers a free service that can match you with a Colorado custody attorney, whether you live in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora or elsewhere in the state. To use our service, simply complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. After answering a few easy questions, we’ll quickly connect you with an attorney in your area.