Below is breakdown of the different types of custody in Colorado.
• Physical custody is when a parent has the right to have the child(ren) live with him or her. In some cases, Colorado courts will award physical custody to both parents if they each spend a significant amount of time with the children, but joint physical custody is only recommended if the parents live close to each other, as this allows the children to maintain a more normal routine.
• Having legal custody of a child gives a parent both the right and the obligation to make decisions about their child’s upbringing. This would include decisions about schooling, medical care, and religion. In most cases, the courts will find that joint legal custody is preferable, unless you are able to convince a judge that this is not in the best interests of the children.
• Sole custody is when one parent has either sole physical or sole legal custody of the child(ren), and usually occurs when the other parent is deemed to be unfit. Most of the time, when a parent is unfit it is because of drug or alcohol dependency, child abuse, neglect, or having a partner who is unfit. Even in cases where sole physical custody is awared, the courts still recognize an absent parents’ need to be involved in their children’s lives and will grant them joint legal custody.
• Joint custody, or shared custody as it is often called, is when parent share both the decision making and the physical control and custody of their children. Joint custody can be awarded for physical or legal custody only, or for both legal and physical custody.
One of the biggest downsides to joint custody is parental noncooperation, or lack of communication between the parents, which can have a serious negative impact on the children. Also, maintaining two separate homes can be expensive and cumbersome, and it can be very difficult to keep track of expenses and who pays for what.
In the end, the custody decisions you make now will have a long-term effect on your children, so it makes sense to consult with a Denver child custody attorney first.