Making a Custody Agreement in Colorado

Mar 4 09:45 2011 Tracy Bensun Print This Article

You need to know and understand your state's child custody laws in order to make an effective custody agreement. Follow the guidelines below to create a Colorado custody agreement.

If you are a separated or divorced parent in Colorado,Guest Posting you must familiarize yourself with the laws regarding child custody so you can make an effective child custody agreement. These laws can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 14. When beginning the process of making an agreement, you need to understand that all custody decisions in Colorado are based on what is best for the child. Everything in your agreement should be included because it addresses all of your child's needs. In Section 14-10-124, it states that it in the child's best interest to have frequent and continuing contact with each parent. Because of this, the court encourages parents to work out an agreement together where they share child-raising responsibilities.

The Colorado court has authority to make decisions regarding custody matters. If you and the other parent can agree on custody arrangements, the court will decide that your plan is in your child's best interest and accept it. If you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement together, the court may require both parents to attend parenting classes or mediation. Sometimes, parents can work out an agreement after that and sometimes they still need to go to court to let the judge decide. If you and the other parent do go to court, the judge will determine your custody agreement.

A Colorado custody agreement should allocate parental responsibilities. This includes deciding parenting time and determining how decisions will be made for your child. When deciding how parenting time is divided, the court considers:

  • Both parents' and the child's wishes (if the child is of adequate age and maturity to express a preference) as to the parenting time schedule;

  • The child's interaction and relationship with each parent, any siblings and anyone else who affects the child;

  • How the child is adjusted to his/her home, school and community;

  • The physical and mental health of everyone involved (disability is not basis to deny or restrict parenting time);

  • Each parent's ability to encourage the sharing of contact, love and affection between the child and the other parent;

  • Whether the past pattern of parental involvement reflects a system of mutual support, values and time commitment;

  • The physical proximity of the parents' homes to each other as it relates to the practical considerations of sharing time;

  • If there is any evidence or history of child abuse, child neglect or domestic violence; and

  • Each parent's ability to place the child's needs above his/her own needs.

You must consider these factors just as the court does in order to create an effective agreement for custody. The other part of your custody agreement is how decisions will be made for the child. The court may give authority to one parent to make all decisions, have the parents share the decision-making responsibility or grant authority to each parent for making certain decisions. When determining how decision-making responsibility should be allocated, the court considers:

  • Each parent's ability to cooperate and make decisions jointly;

  • Whether the past pattern of parental involvement reflects a system of time commitment, values mutual support;

  • Whether mutual decision-making responsibility will promote frequent and continuing contact between the child and each parent; and

  • If there is any evidence or history of of child abuse, child neglect or domestic violence.

According to 14-10-124 (7) of the Colorado Revised Statutes, both parents may submit a custody agreement for the court's approval. An agreement may be submitted together or each parent may submit an individual custody agreement. It must address both the parenting time and the decision-making responsibility. If there is no agreement submitted or the court does not approve a submitted agreement, the court will make a plan that addresses parenting time and decision-making.

Work together as much as possible to create a Colorado custody agreement with your child's best interests as the number one priority.

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About Article Author

Tracy Bensun
Tracy Bensun

Tracy Bensun is interested in the law and especially family law. Her main interest lies in how children are affected by divorce and child custody. She has done extensive research on her own and loves to share her knowledge. She is affiliated with Custody X Change, which is designed to assist in child custody visitation schedules, custody agreements and parenting plans.

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