Custody and visitation. For a father who has not been through a divorce that involves custody of children, this can be a scary matter. What rights do you have as a father? Do the courts usually grant custody to the mother and only visitation rights to the father?
Apart from understanding the legal aspects, preparing for custody hearings can be emotionally draining and the conversation with your spouse can easily become hostile. That’s why it’s important to approach a custody case with a solid understanding of your rights.
"Colorado child custody" is typically known by another name - the official term is “Parental Responsibility.” This can either be joint or primary. When parents share equally in overnight presence of their children, it is joint responsibility. Any parent who has less than 90 overnights with a child in a year does not have joint responsibility. The other parent has primary responsibility.
As late as 2016, most states, including Colorado, favored the mother. But that has changed, and courts are far more inclined to devise 50/50 arrangements now. Colorado family law has become much more favorable to joint responsibility and is clear that custody decisions may not be made on the basis of sex. Courts must make decisions based upon what is in the best interests of the child. This certainly boosts the father’s rights in Colorado divorce and custody proceedings.
Who Will Get What Type of Custody?
There are no set rules, and obviously a judge will make a decision if parents cannot agree.
Certainly, there are legal factors involved in that judge’s decision. If one parent is a drug offender, has been found guilty of domestic violence, etc., then a judge is not going to award any custody to that parent. In fact, that parent will probably only have supervised visitation rights.
And either parent can bring evidence into court to support a claim that he should have primary responsibility.
Custody arrangements are also divided into residential responsibility and decision-making responsibility. Deciding a child’s education, religion, medical care, etc. can either be joint or sole.
How a Father Can Solidify His Chances of Winning
The key to winning a custody case is to make a logical, rational case for the type of custody arrangement you want. Prepare a list of the benefits your child or children receive from spending time with you. If you have moved out of the marital home, how is your housing appropriate and stable for your children to stay with you? What accommodations are you able to make to ensure that they can still participate in activities and get to school, daycare, etc.?
All of these things should be presented to your attorney, so that he or she can prepare the best argument in court. And it will give your attorney initial information to build upon.
Get Yourself The Legal Help You Need
If your divorcing spouse is not willing to agree to what you want in terms of custody, then you may want to prepare for a custody dispute. Just be certain of two things: that what you want is in the best interest of your child or children, and that you find a Denver family law attorney who will fight for you.
A great attorney knows the right questions to ask you, and will take your information and “evidence” and develop it into a compelling argument in court. As a father who wants the best for your children, you need the best legal assistance possible. Contact the family law specialists at Tolison & Williams today.