Ask anyone who has gone through a divorce where children are involved; the most complicated decisions often revolve around child custody. Before deciding on the best way to raise your children post-divorce, take the advice of a Colorado Springs child custody lawyer and consider every available option.
Joint custody is an option that many parents immediately dismiss because they assume it will be too difficult and confusing for the children. But in Colorado, joint custody rulings are different than in many other states, and many couples have found it works better for everyone involved.
How does Joint Custody differ from Shared Custody in Colorado?
Shared custody still awards equal time and financial responsibility to both parents, but with shared custody the parent who makes more money is required to make payments to the parent with lesser income. This is not traditional “child support”. Instead, it is an equitable division of the costs of raising children, where the higher income earner is responsible for a higher percentage of the total and pays the other parent the “difference.” To ensure equal time with the children, judges and parents often work together to set up custody schedule and parenting plan.
Joint legal custody is different from shared custody in that it awards both parents equal decision-making rights about how their children will be raised. This includes, but is not limited to, education, travel, medical care and religious training.
One downside risk to shared custody is the need for an involved and ongoing relationship with your ex-spouse. For many couples, this can be extremely stressful. As a parent in a joint custody arrangement, your relationship with your ex spouse will continue as long as your children are part of your lives. It may be challenging to redefine an emotional relationship like marriage into the more business-like relationship necessary for joint-custodial parenthood. These arrangements can have long-term positive benefits for the children, but the early stages of this transition will require a period of adjustment.
If you are considering a shared custody arrangement in Colorado, it makes sense to seek counsel from an experienced Colorado Springs child custody lawyer who can help you draft an effective co-parenting plan.