Also known as parental responsibilities, child custody is among the most sensitive issues in any divorce case. Each parent has different opinions on where and how their child should be raised. Besides, there is understandably a lot of emotion involved in the entire process.
It is normal to be scared or even nervous particularly when thinking about an anticipated divorce settlement. How will the court rule? What essential factors will influence the ruling? Is there an effective way of showing the judge that your desired arrangements are in the best interest of your child? You need an experienced Lakewood family lawyer to understand the decisions and laws that shape parental responsibilities or child custody decisions in Lakewood, Colorado.
Keep in mind that child custody is determined by the best interest of the child. During the divorce proceedings, a judge will analyze the following factors to determine what arrangements will set your children up for a higher chance of success.
The child’s relationship with each of the parents
If the judge believes that the child is mature enough to give testimony in court, the child’s opinions regarding who he or she wants to stay with after divorce will be considered. Note that there is no minimum age requirement for the child to testify in court.
Each parent’s living arrangement
A judge will not give many rights to a spouse who is apathetic about raising their child. You and your ex-spouse will have to separately talk to the judge about why you think any of you should receive a certain level of child custody rights. While making the final decision, the judge will consider each parent’s testimony.
The location of each parent
Transportation cost and time are an essential factor that a judge must consider before making the final ruling regarding child custody. This is because the child will go back and forth to each parent. Note that a judge can split the parenting time 50/50 especially if the parents live close enough for the kids to be transported back and forth easily.
Mental and physical health for the child and each parent
This doesn’t mean that a court can deny a parent the right to parental responsibilities because of disabilities. But some health complications can affect one’s ability to raise their child, a reason why the judge must consider the mental and physical health for both parents and the child.
Ex-spouses who share parental responsibilities should be flexible with their schedules and show cooperation in raising the child. In case one parent isn’t cooperating with the other parent or is discouraging the child from having a healthy relationship with the other parent, a judge will consider these details when making a ruling regarding child custody.
History of abuse and domestic violence
Violence and domestic abuse is the only fact that can make a judge grant sole custody. In case your partner has a history of domestic abuse or violence, consider making this known to the court. In case the abuse is still happening, it is recommended to file a protective order before the divorce proceedings start.