First off, Colorado uses the phrase "parental responsibility" when referring to child custody. While these terms essentially mean the same thing, it is important to keep the difference in terminology in mind. The Colorado court will determine child custody and parental responsibilities in accordance with the best interests of the child. This essentially means the court considers the mental, physical, and emotional needs of the child when issuing a the custody order.
The court will consider any relevant factors in awarding custody, including:
- The desires of both the child and the parents concerning residence arrangements and visitation schedules
- The relationship between the child and each individual parent
- The relationship between siblings and grandparents
- The child’s mental and physical health
- The geographical distance between parents
- Evidence indicating spousal abuse or child abuse or neglect
- Any addiction or substance abuse issues
Yes, Colorado child custody laws contain provisions that specify for genetic testing for the purposes of determining a person’s biological relation to the child. The provisions state that if a party requests for genetic testing of another person, such request shall not prejudice the requesting party’s custody and visitation rights.
Working with a Colorado lawyer is essential in child custody hearings. Parental responsibility and family law can be quite complex, especially if the custody involves travel between the states. Also, custody orders are binding on both parents, and so it is important to have a family law lawyer review the order to ensure the child’s best interests are met.