Child custody is often the most important and contested part of a divorce case involving children in Colorado. No parent wants to sacrifice any amount of time with their child. Unfortunately, this is the reality of getting divorced. If you believe that it is in your child’s best interest to live with you full time, you can file for sole custody in Colorado. Obtaining sole custody, however, is challenging.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Colorado?
It is important to know that the courts view sole custody as a last resort. They are not in the habit of awarding full custody to one parent and taking away the other parent’s custodial rights entirely. Instead, the courts believe that it is generally in a child’s best interests to remain in frequent and meaningful contact with both parents after a divorce. For this reason, a shared or joint custody arrangement is most common in Colorado. However, the courts will award sole custody in situations where they believe that being in the care of one parent would potentially harm the child physically, mentally or emotionally.
What Can You Do to Increase Your Chances of Getting Sole Custody?
If you desire sole custody of your child(ren) in a divorce case in Colorado, there are steps that you can take to improve the likelihood of achieving this outcome. You have an uphill battle ahead of you, however, and may require assistance from a qualified child custody lawyer in Fort Collins. An attorney can help you take all of the steps necessary to strengthen your child custody case and improve your odds of having full custody.
Prove That Your Ex-Spouse Is an Unfit Parent
In Colorado, one parent’s custodial rights may be terminated if he or she is declared “unfit.” This means that the individual has been ruled unable to properly provide for the child’s needs and well-being. The definition of what makes a parent unfit changes from state to state. In Colorado, proving that your ex-spouse is unfit is difficult. It comes with a highly involved legal process. First, you or your lawyer will need to provide evidence supporting your argument as to why your ex is an unfit parent, such as:
You will need evidence and documentation to support your argument, such as police reports, medical records or witnesses. You may also need to request a psychological evaluation of your ex-spouse. Note, however, that requesting this evaluation typically means that you will need to undergo one, as well. If the courts conclude that your ex-spouse is an unfit parent, his or her parental rights may be taken away.
Show That Sole Custody Is in Your Child’s Best Interests
The next step is establishing that sole custody would be in your child’s best interests after your divorce. As stated above, the courts typically hold that continuing contact with both parents is what is best for a child. It is up to you or your lawyer to show that sole custody with you is in fact what is best for your child’s physical and psychological well-being. This argument may be based on reasons connected to your ex being an unfit parent, but you will also need to prove that you are a fit parent; for instance, that you have character witnesses and a successful track record of being your child’s primary caregiver.
Hire an Experienced Attorney for Child Custody Assistance
You will need to be proactive if sole custody is a goal that you want to achieve in your divorce case. Hire an experienced divorce lawyer in Fort Collins from the very beginning to start building your custody case. A lawyer will be prepared to take your custody case to trial to fight for what is best for your child, if necessary.
Your lawyer will know all of the techniques used to achieve sole custody. In addition, your lawyer can give you an honest evaluation of whether sole custody is possible in your case. For more information, contact The Law Office of Stephen Vertucci, LLC to request a consultation with one of our child custody lawyers.