Colorado child custody judges are only given one test to apply when deciding on a custody issue: What is in the best interest of the child? Your attorney is well aware of this and will only speak to the issues surrounding your child’s well-being, not your personal interests in winning a custody battle. Of course, not every child custody case is simple. Some parents may attempt to prove the other parent is unfit in order to gain full custody. Others may plan to move the children far away from their familiar surroundings, and far away from the other parent. The judge will always look out for how the divorce impacts the interests of the child when making a decision on custody arrangements, and parents should enter the courtroom with the same goal in mind.
In many cases, divorcing parents are advised to use a mediator to help them agree on child custody issues. Mediation allows families to customize a solution that works for them without entering into a bitter custody battle. A mediator still uses the same basic assumptions about what is in the best interest of the children and they know which legal solutions will work best, but they encourage a more collaborative dialogue between the parents. The results of mediation are usually more acceptable to the parents because they are involved in the negotiation. Parenting plans that are collaborative tend to be more effective over time.
If you and your spouse need to work out the details of a post-divorce parenting plan, start out by consulting with a child custody attorney. He or she will advise you on the best way to move forward; whether it is mediation or a formal custody hearing. No matter which option you choose, your attorney will develop a winning strategy.
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