In custody matters, the best interests of the children is paramount and the guiding principle that governs these difficult cases. In Colorado, custody matters are referred to as “allocation of parental rights” cases, and determining the best interests of children is based on a number of legal factors. The factors include:
- The wishes of the child’s parents as to parenting time.
- The wishes of the child, if he or she is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences, as to the parenting time schedule.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests.
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability alone shall not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time.
- The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party. With the exception that, if the court determines that a party is acting to protect the child from witnessing domestic violence or from being a victim of child abuse or neglect or domestic violence, the party’s protective actions shall not be considered with respect to this factor.
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support.
- The physical proximity of the parties to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of parenting time.
- The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs.
When going through a divorce or separation, every parents want to protect the children from the negative impacts of the process. Choosing a child-centered attorney who is knowledgeable about the impact an acrimonious divorce has on children is the first step in this process.
Sara has spent a significant amount of time working on behalf of children throughout her legal career. She was a supervising attorney at the Children’s Law Center in DC for years before starting her own private practice. In DC, she was one of the go to attorneys for complex custody cases based on her ability to help parents put aside their own positions and proceed with the best interests of their children at the forefront. Sara was also appointed to be the guardian ad litem in several custody matters where the court asked Sara to make recommendations as to the children’s best interests. Now in Colorado, Sara has served as a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) in numerous cases. This means she is appointed by Colorado courts to make recommendations regularly regarding custody to family court judges.