Going through a divorce is a very trying time.
There’s simply no sugar coating it — divorce is one of the hardest challenges you will go through in life. Yet, sometimes it is simply unavoidable. As an experienced Denver child custody and divorce attorney, as well as someone who has been through a divorce, I know the emotions that you are going through right now.
When children are involved, emotions can be are exponentially higher. I understand the conflicting emotions you feel with separating from your partner or spouse while your young ones face a dissolving family unit. My job is to help you not only develop an understanding of the laws surrounding parental rights in Colorado but also to help you facilitate a smooth transition so that you can make sure your child’s interests remain above everything else throughout the divorce proceedings.
Child Custody Legal Options in Colorado
Although divorce proceedings can be trying for everyone involved, understanding the child custody options will better prepare both the parents and the children for what may lie ahead. Having a seasoned child custody attorney in Denver at your side will improve the chances of a peaceful resolution.
Unlike other states, Colorado does not define custody as either joint or sole custody. It instead uses the term “parental responsibility” to describe the roles of parents. This parental responsibility can be classified as either primary or joint.
If one parent has less than 92 overnight visits with the child, the court usually identifies the other parent to have primary parental responsibility. On the other hand, if both parents have an equal number of overnight visits, the court considers it a joint parental responsibility.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
In Colorado, parental responsibility is defined by the parent’s authority in making fundamental decisions about the child’s life. These choices are usually about the child’s education, health, and welfare. On the other hand, parenting time refers to the physical presence of the child with a parent.
A Colorado court may grant sole decision making to one parent, have both parents share the decision-making responsibility, or assign each parent different aspects of the child’s life.
The decision of the court regarding this matter depends on the following factors:
- Whether the parents can cooperate with each other to make joint decisions.
- Whether the parents foster a mutually supportive environment for the child based on past patterns.
- Whether the parents can work with each other to sustain a positive relationship with the child.
- Whether the allocation of authority will facilitate more contact between both parents and their child.
If a parent’s past patterns show neglect or abuse, the court will likely not order joint decision making and may award sole custody to the other parent.
What should you expect from your divorce?
Divorce is complicated. It is not uncommon, and in fact natural, for both parties to want to retain custody of the children. But when you are getting a divorce or separating from your partner, you must work out a parenting plan that designates when each parent will have parenting time with the children. Unless you and your spouse come to a mutual agreement, the court will determine a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children. This is why getting a great family law, and child custody lawyer is critical.
Contact me, Jennifer Lewis, to learn more about Mother’s Rights during Child Custody proceedings.
What happens if you lose custody?
If your ex-partner is awarded more parenting time with the children it does not mean you have lost your parental rights, nor are you free from your parental obligations. When you get a divorce, you are divorcing your spouse, not your children. I will continue to advocate for you every step of the way.
If you are the non-custodial parent, we will work to create a favorable parenting plan. It is in the best interest of your children that they continue to see both parents on a consistent basis. Developing a successful parenting plan is one of the most important parts of a child custody case.
As the non-custodial parent, you may also be ordered to pay child support. The family court will determine your monthly obligation based on several factors, including your income and the amount of time that you have with your children.
What if you have a non-traditional divorce?
There are some scenarios that make a child custody case a little more complicated. For example, if you helped raise a child who is not legally or biologically yours, you may want to arrange regular visits with the child. The fact that you are divorcing their parent does not eliminate the bond that you have built with their children.
Though these cases are a little trickier, I will fight for your rights with just a much passion as I would if they were your biological children. Being a parent is about the love you share with a child, not DNA. The courts have recognized this, but it is imperative that you are represented by someone who can make sure you know your rights.
If you have children, you know that it is important that you remain strong, not only for yourself but your children as well. Divorce can be emotionally draining, but as a compassionate Denver child custody lawyer, I’m here to help you get through it. I will guide you through the process and make sure that you and your children’s lives remain as normal as possible.
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Meet the Team
Get to know the people behind the success of Lewis & Matthews, P.C.
Jennifer Lewis – Managing partner Jennifer Lewis acquired the firm from Ken and Leslie Matthews in 2015 when the two decided to transition to an ‘of counsel’ status.
Ms. Lewis has extensive experience in the legal field. She started practicing law in 1988. Since then, she has practiced in both federal and state courts in Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado.
While Ms. Lewis focuses on family law, she has worked in different legal areas, such as criminal law, estate planning and probate proceedings, personal injury and medical malpractice claims, zoning and land use planning, and general civil litigation.
Ms. Lewis believes in a practical, patient, and compassionate approach when helping clients cope with the challenges of divorce, custody cases, and other matters involving family law.
Amanda Huber – As a legal assistant, Amanda helps with the daily tasks of sending legal correspondence and documents, preparing court filings, and scheduling, among other tasks. Amanda joined the firm in 2022 and has helped clients in all phases of their divorce.
Prior to joining Lewis & Matthews, Amanda worked at an upscale country club in San Diego, where she was born and raised.
Outside of work you can find Amanda wine tasting, gardening, and spending time with her beloved cat, Waffles.
Jackie Flanagan – After working for an educational company, office manager Jackie Flanagan shifted to the legal industry. Now, she ensures that the daily necessities of the firm are taken care of. Her unique insights as a long-term Colorado resident are also truly useful.
Counties We Serve
Whether it is family law or estate planning, if you have legal concerns in the following counties, Lewis & Matthews, P.C. will be pleased to help:
Address: 1325 S Colorado Blvd, Suite 503, Denver, CO 80222
Address: 114 Village Place, Suite 206, Dillon, CO 80435
Phone Number: (970) 468-0240