During the divorce process, one of the biggest areas of contention is often child custody. After all, many divorcing parents simply cannot imagine no longer being able to see their children whenever they desire.

However, although many parents in Colorado have a general understanding of child custody, not all realize that child custody comes in various forms. These types of custody — which is also often called parenting time and decision-making — include physical, legal, sole and joint custody.

Physical custody

If the court grants you physical custody, this means your children can live with you. You and your former spouse may also have joint physical custody of your children if the children will stay with both of you for significant amounts of time, meaning you will share parental responsibilities.

In the majority of situations, joint physical custody will be possible only if you and your future ex will live close to one another. If you plan on or already live far apart, then most likely you or the other party will receive sole physical custody. The person who does not have sole physical custody will have limited custody or vitiation rights. For instance, your children may live with you every day because you have sole physical custody, while your former spouse may visit the children for only a few hours occasionally.

Legal custody

If you have legal custody of your children, this means you can legally make decisions regarding their upbringing, education and health. You have the authority to determine where your children will go to school, what religion they will practice and what type of medical care they will get. If you and your former spouse have joint legal custody, you both must cooperate in making joint decisions regarding the upbringing of your children.

If you have joint legal custody but your spouse tries to take the power to make decisions away from you — for instance, trying to make his or her own decision about your children’s education without your consent — then you can ask the court to enforce the custody order. You also have the option of seeking sole legal custody.

Ultimately, you have the right to pursue the child custody arrangement you desire. However, what is most important in the eyes of the court is that the parenting time arrangement will be in the best interests of the children long term.

DISCLAIMER (PLEASE READ): The content herein is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All blog posts are for general informational purposes only. For legal advice about your specific legal matter contact and consult with a licensed Colorado attorney.

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