Parents going through a divorce in Colorado may agree about which of them should have custody of the children and when the children should be with each parent. Unfortunately, not all parents are able to agree. Some will believe that they should have more time than the other parent for a variety of reasons.
When there is a dispute over the allocation of parental responsibilities, ultimately a judge will have to make the decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time.
When they make these decisions, judges make them based on what is in the best interests of the children. This may not be what parents believe is best, but sometimes parents are biased and their opinions may be based on their best interests and not necessarily those of the children.
Factors used to determine children’s best interests
In determining the best interests of the children judges will analyze a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to:
- The wishes of the children, depending on their age and maturity
- The wishes of the parents
- The children’s relationships with each parent, as well as their relationship with their siblings and others who play a significant role in their lives
- How established the children are in their schools and community
- The health, both physical and mental, of the parents and children
- How each parent will promote the children’s relationship with the other parent
- Any history of domestic violence, or whether a child will be neglected in the care of one parent
- How close the parents live to each other
- How each parent prioritizes their needs versus the children’s needs
Allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are fact-specific decisions in Colorado. Each child’s needs are different and what is in their best interest varies depending on a number of different factors.
Applying those factors to each familial situation will result in different outcomes. It is important to understand the factors that are used to make these decisions and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through the process.