Recent trends in Child Custody cases show that Fathers are more and more likely to be awarded equal parenting time, in custody and divorce case. I have found that Colorado judges are extremely fair when deciding this issue. The main focus for the Court in any dispute involving custody or parenting time centers on what is best for the children. How will the children adapt to the situation and how will any shared custody arrangement be impacted when parents do not live near one another. There is a lot of reading material and research in this area of the law from respected experts. The American Bar Association, Family Law Quarterly is a great source of information as well.
“Father’s Parenting Rights” is a legal concept that stands for the proposition that Fathers have equal parenting rights as Mothers . When lawyers say that they are “Father’s Rights Attorneys” they are really saying that they concentrate on representing men, not women in these kinds of cases. Any time I have represented a Father, I have made it a point, to always tell the judge why client is best suited to fulfilling that parent’s role as an equal parent to the children, regardless of sex. History has shown that Father’s Rights is a relatively new concept, and that Father’s have made tremendous strides in demonstrating their significant role in being able to co-parent their children. While any child custody courtroom dispute may be difficult or costly, for the majority of Father’s those battles have been well worth the effort when considering what is at stake. A fit and proper parent desires to be fully engaged in any parent-child relationship.
There is no doubt that Colorado is one of the jurisdictions in the United States that does not prejudice dads in their quest to be considered equal with moms, in custody matters. This statement of equality for both Fathers and Mothers is stated in the Colorado “best interests” law (Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-124):
“The general assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interests of all parties to encourage frequent and continuing contact between each parent and the minor children of the marriage after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. In order to effectuate this goal, 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.”
If you read the Colorado law, you will see that Father’s have the exact same parenting rights as Mothers. The Court is not allowed to discriminate against Fathers or give Mother’s any kind of edge in a parenting or custody dispute. When a Mother argues in court that she should be the primary residential parent because she has been a stay at home mom, that factor alone should not sway a judge. Just because Father has been the family breadwinner and has worked a full time job or has had a full time career, should not disqualify the Father in his request to obtain equal parenting rights. In fact, if anything, both the Father and the Mother, are on equal playing fields unless there is evidence to indicate one of the relevant endangerment factors such as:
- Domestic Violence;
- Substance or Alcohol Abuse;
- Child Abuse or Neglect;
- Physical or Mental Health;
As any parent considers their future roles in their children’s lives, it is important to remember that, the ability of parents to cooperate with one another for the common good of the children is a value that overrides any personal dispute that parents may have with one another. No matter how bitter the relationship between parents may be, raising healthy children should be the focus of any parenting or custody dispute. As I have heard numerous judges say, “the mark of a good parent, whether it’s the Mother or the Father, is that parent’s ability to place the needs of the children above that of the parent’s individual needs. When parents act together to provide their children with a positive, loving, nurturing environment, they do so with the knowledge that their combined efforts will result in their children growing up to be exemplary adults. The evidence and research shows that children who have two parents fully involved in their lives, are better able to handle the stresses of life and the formative years that shape who they become as adults.