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Are mothers automatically awarded child custody during divorce?

While many people believe that mothers receive preferential treatment during custody disputes, there are actually no set rules in Colorado regarding which parent will automatically get custody of children. Indeed, Colorado courts primary concern when determining custody is a child's best interests, not the gender of the parent.

Colorado child custody: 101

Legally known as "allocation of parental responsibility" in Colorado, child custody determinations can typically be divided into two distinct parts: determining parenting time and the allocation of decision-making authority. Both of these issues are decided based on the best interests of the child. 

In many cases, the court will award some type of shared custody following a divorce or legal separation. In fact, while Colorado law recognizes that co-parenting arrangements are not always appropriate in every situation, it also expressly states that:

"In most circumstances, it is in the best interest of all parties to encourage frequent and continuing contact between each parent and the minor children. In order to effectuate this goal when appropriate, the general assembly urges parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child-rearing and to encourage the love, affection, and contact between the children and the parents."

So, to answer the question posted in the title of this blog: No, mothers are not automatically awarded custody during divorce. Indeed, Colorado law even encourages parents to establish custody arrangements in which they both are involved.

With that being said, it could still be argued that, depending on the circumstances, one parent may still have the upper hand in a particular custody dispute. However, that doesn't mean the other parent doesn't have legal options, which is why they should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible

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