Colorado Child Custody

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates.  We’re experts in child custody cases in Denver and other cities in Colorado.  

Call us today with your Denver child custody issue. (303) 502-9600.


The Scope of Colorado Child Custody Cases.  

In Colorado, the term “child custody” is broadly used to refer to the legal rights and responsibilities of parents relating to their children.   In 1999, the term “child custody” was officially replaced in Colorado with the more politically-correct term “parental responsibilities.”  Even so, legal actions involving the rights and responsibilities of parents are still widely known as “child custody” cases.

Common issues in Colorado child custody cases include parenting timedecision-making responsibilities and child support, but the term “child custody” is also broad enough to include adoption, relocation, termination of parenting rights, child abduction, and delinquency & neglect.

Parties in Colorado child custody cases include biological parent(s), adoptive parent(s), foster parents, legal guardians, grand-parents or even psychological parents of the child.

Colorado child custody cases come in three broad classes: divorces where children are involved, allocation of parental responsibilities (APR) cases, and juvenile cases.  APR cases relate to disputes about children between parents who were never married.   Colorado divorce and APR cases are brought before the domestic relations (“DR”) division of the District Court of the county in which the child or at least one of the parents lives.  Colorado juvenile cases involve child delinquency cases and dependency and neglect and are brought before the juvenile (“JV’) division of the District Court.

Older Terms Concerning “Child Custody” now Mean Parenting Time, Decision-Making Authority or Both. 

Colorado “Child custody” cases usually involve parenting time (also known as visitation) or decision-making authority.   These are the two fundamental Constitutional rights of any parent.

Physical custody (or residential custody) is an outdated term that relates to the child’s physical location or his or her residence.   Prior to 1999, a parent who had “physical custody” of the child simply had the majority of the parenting time with the child.  A person who had been granted all of the parenting time got “sole physical custody.”   Under the new scheme, the term physical custody has been replaced with the term “parenting time.”   So now, neither parent technically has “custody” of the child, but both parents may still have many rights and responsibilities regarding the child.

Legal custody is another obsolete term referring to the ability of a parent to make major decisions on behalf of the child such those related to medical, educational, religious and extra-curricular issues.  “Shared legal custody” meant that the parents shared decision-making responsibilities.    A parent with “sole legal custody” had the right to make all of the major decisions on behalf of the child.  The other parent was referred to as the non-custodial parent.   The term “split custody” was used for a variety of situations where the parents shared parenting time, decision-making responsibilities or both.

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers have successfully litigated or settled many hundreds of child custody cases in Colorado.

Call us now to talk with a Denver child custody lawyer about your legal rights and options.  (303) 502-9600.


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