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An overview of child custody and parental visitation in Colorado

When two parents in Colorado decide to divorce, they must also make difficult decisions concerning their child. They want what is best for their child, but a divorce can turn a child's world upside-down, as the life they once knew has suddenly changed. It can be a time of stress for both the parents and the child.

One issue that will have to be reckoned with is that of child custody, referred to as "parental responsibilities" in Colorado. Parental responsibilities include determining where the child will reside, which parent (or both) will make major decisions regarding the raising and care of their child and what visitation periods for the noncustodial parent, known as "parenting time" in Colorado will look like.

When parents turn to the court to make such decisions, the court will do so using the standard of the "best interests of the child." There are numerous factors that go into making this decision. For example, the preferences of both the parents and the child may be considered. The child's ability to adjust to living in a new residence or going to a new school may be considered. However, a parent's gender is not a factor in making such decisions -- there is no presumption that a mother (or father) is a better parent due solely to their gender.

In the end, most parents going through a divorce will want to keep life as stable for their child as they can. Therefore, it can help for them to try to work together if possible to negotiate a child custody and parental visitation plan out-of-court. This will set the stage for the future, as even divorced parents must work together to raise their child.

While divorce is a major upheaval in one's life, it can also be a relief, especially if it was a long time coming. Parents and the court should do all they can to ensure the child weathers the transition as best as is possible, and that the child's post-divorce life will provide them with the support they need moving forward.

Source: FindLaw, "Colorado Child Custody Laws," accessed May 15, 2018

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