Under Colorado’s child custody laws, each parent comes to the table with an equal opportunity to obtain primary physical (residential) custody. This means that the state maintains a gender-neutral ideology between the mother and father. In reality, mothers still tend to gain custody more often than men do, but that is because they are more likely to be the primary caretaker of the child. Fathers seeking custody now have a more level playing field than ever before.
The “best interests of the child” is a term often heard in Colorado courts when discussing residential custody. However, as a child gets older they too have a say in where they live. The overarching concept of the child’s best interests is one that keeps the parents from using children as a pawn in their pursuit of a victory in divorce. Rather than being treated like personal property, the court views the child’s “best interest” as something that exists separately from the desires of either parent.
Despite the input of child development experts who would advise against it, Colorado divorce courts are moving towards and “equal parenting time” arrangement, particularly for school-aged children. When parents live close together and have the ability to communicate and work out the scheduling details, joint physical custody can be a workable option. However, the younger a child is the more likely they will spend the majority of their time with one parent, as this provides a more stable environment for their care.
If you foresee a custody battle in your Colorado divorce, it is not a good idea to “go it alone” in court. An experienced Colorado Springs custody and parental rights lawyer will present a strong argument and take care of all the details surrounding your case.