Now that you and your husband have decided to divorce, it is time to start thinking about how the two of you will handle the custody of your two sons. Divorce, in general, is a very complicated and emotional process, but when children are involved it is even more so.
You will have to make decisions concerning physical custody and visitation. Alternatively, you may decide that full joint custody and a strong co-parenting plan. Regardless of the direction you and your husband choose to take, it is important to understand basic Colorado child custody laws. A local family law attorney can advise you of your rights and options during the divorce process.
Almost 20 years ago, Colorado began referring to child custody as parental responsibilities. These responsibilities include deciding whom your children live with, which of you gets to make major decisions, and what type of visitation the non-custodial parent gets.
The family court will consider what is in the best interests of your children to determine parental responsibilities. The judge will look at multiple factors to make a decision. He or she will include you and your spouse’s wishes, what your children want, emotional bonds, and what kind of an adjustment the kids will have to make.
Read further for additional basic information on Colorado child custody laws.
Usually, Colorado judges will order parents to have joint legal custody. This means that you and your future ex will share the responsibility of making major decisions for your children. This includes education and medical care.
It is sometimes difficult for parents to fully implement joint physical custody due to the distance between your homes and complicated work schedules. It is possible that you will end up with the primary responsibilities for your kids if it is too difficult to have a 50/50 joint custody situation.
In Colorado, the law grants grandparents the right to visit their grandchildren. Be prepared to arrange with your in-laws for them to spend time with your children.
Your children’s wishes
The court will listen to the desires of your two sons when determining custody, if they are mature enough to have opinions without being unduly influenced by you or your husband. In Colorado, there is no particular age at which the court has to listen to your children’s wishes. Keep in mind that the judge will get the final say in where your children live, regardless of your wishes or theirs.
Dealing with divorce and custody issues can be very complicated. Before agreeing to a settlement, be sure you take the time to understand your rights and options.