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What are my options regarding child custody?

If you and your spouse are facing divorce, you may have many questions about your child custody options in Colorado. While these arrangements can differ greatly from family to family, there are a few different choices commonly available that will ensure both you and your ex-spouse can continue playing an important role in your child’s life.

As stated by the American Bar Association, there is a difference between legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the decision-making process pertaining to important issues in a child’s life (such as education and health care). Conversely, physical custody is defined as the amount of time you and your spouse spend with a child. When determining physical custody, you are typically free to design your parenting schedule based on what works for your family. Some parents may allocate time spent equally, while others may prefer to spend weekends with their children.

You are also free to establish joint custody with your ex-spouse. This is when each parent shares in the decision-making role equally and spends the same amount of time with a child. In many cases you will be directed to a mediator to help facilitate difficult decisions from an objective standpoint. For instance, conflict may arise over the proper method of discipline or other issues, and a mediator can help your family come to a reasonable agreement.

Sole custody is another option available to you. In this case, the parent who makes the majority of decisions and spend the most time with a child is referred to as the custodial parent (while the parent who spends less time is known as the non-custodial parent). To this end, the non-custodial parent will most likely request visitation rights in order to be a part of a child’s life in a meaningful way. 

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