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Child custody in Colorado Springs is determined by the law which governs what they call the best interest of the minor children. Colorado Springs, here in El Paso County, the court is going to apply the Best Interest Statute to determining custody, although custody has been removed from the language in the law, and the appropriate language that you're going to hear is parenting time, parental responsibilities, and decision making, which are all part of the law.
When a court goes through an analysis of determining the best interest of children, what the court has to take into account are all the factors in the law. Sometimes those factors include the adjustment of the child or children, to the specific community that is school, relatives, whether or not either party has any mental or physical disability, what are the wishes of the child.
If the child is sufficiently mature enough to express those wishes, and all the other factors in the law. Often times I get the question, “How does domestic violence play into parenting time?” We have a specific statute that deals with not only domestic violence, but domestic abuse.
That's a very big issue in Colorado because the court is allowed to take into consideration whether or not one of the parents has been a perpetrator of domestic abuse, and whether or not one of the parties has been victimized of domestic abuse in entering parenting time orders.
The most important feature of Colorado's law is that recent changes to the law says that a court has to enter specific findings of fact if the parenting agreements, that is parenting time agreements, which parent has what parenting time compared to the other parent. If those are not substantially equal, a judge, in the absence of parties agreements, is going to need to give an explanation as to why the parenting time is not equal.
You can tell that the direction of the law, the direction of society in a whole, favors both parents. Another really important issue, and a question I get asked all the time is, “Does Colorado's law favor a mother over a father?” Absolute answer to that is no. A court and the law absolutely cannot favor a mother over a father, or a father over a mother.
The gender or sex of a parent is not a determining factor as to parenting time or physical care, custody, and control of a child.