If you are experiencing a legal battle regarding child custody, it is critical that you understand basic custody issues, along with knowing your legal rights as a parent and the ramifications of giving up those rights in the state of Colorado. Your rights as a parent affect the legal and physical custody of your child, and this is often a legally complex and challenging issue. The following is a guide to understanding the different types of parenting rights and custody options that are available. Every custody dispute is different, and you have the right to know all of your legal options with respect to your children. Contact the compassionate and understanding attorneys at Johnson Law Group today to ensure your parental and legal rights remain protected. Contact us today at (720) 463-4333 or Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558.
Child custody and visitation rights are the top concerns of parents who are going through a divorce. This summary gives an overview of the various types of parental rights and custody options.
Joint custody may refer to either physical custody or legal custody or both. Joint custody is shared rights and responsibilities regarding the child.
Legal custody describes the rights of a parent to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their child. This includes decisions involving academics, medical care, religious upbringing and other life choices that impact the child. Most courts favor having both parents share legal custody of a child, since this is usually considered to be in the best interest of the child.
If you share legal custody and you begin to make significant life choices regarding your child apart from the child’s other parent, the other parent has a legal right to take you back to court to enforce the joint legal custody order. In some situations, the court will award one parent sole legal custody because the other parent refuses to communicate appropriately with the other, or the other parent exhibited a pattern of emotional or physical abuse toward the child. In these cases as always, the court must determine what is in the best interest of the child.
Physical custody describes the situation where a parent has a child live with him or her for a period of time. In most cases, the court will rule that parents will have joint physical custody, which means that both parents will have a scheduled amount of time to spend with their child. This type of custody arrangement helps provide a consistent emotional connection with both parents. The parent with whom the child lives most of the time is called the “custodial” parent. Even if there is only one custodial parent, both parents retain joint physical custody of the child, and both parents have full rights to parenting time and visitation with their child.
If a parent has sole physical custody instead of both parents having joint physical custody, then that parent will be the primary caretaker of the child. It is possible to have joint legal custody, even if one parent has sole physical custody. This situation would mean both parents have the authority to make decisions on behalf of their child, however, one parent would be the primary caretaker. The other parent without physical custody would still have visitation rights according to a legal parenting schedule or agreement. It is important to know that even if one parent has sole physical custody, that does not terminate the legal parental rights of the other parent. The other parent often retains visitation rights and will still be required to support the child financially.
A parent who has their parental rights terminated will have no rights or obligations regarding their child. When parental rights are terminated, that person is legally considered as a stranger to that child. Whether this drastic legal measure happens voluntarily or involuntarily, terminated parental rights means that the parent has no legal right to see or communicate with their child again, and will have no right to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their child. In these extreme cases where parental rights are terminated, the court may rule that the parent is not required to pay child support. Before making the decision to terminate your parental rights, you should consider visiting with an experienced family lawyer at Johnson Law Group to help you understand all of your legal and parent rights and options.
The landscape of parenting rights and custody options may be confusing, and there are many factors that decide how the court will rule to decide the best interest of the child. Understanding these different terms and various options can help you determine your legal rights and how to proceed in your specific situation. Most parents want the best for their child, and will do anything to ensure that they continue to have involvement in their child’s life. Taking the time to visit with an experienced family attorney can help you understand the answers to your questions and ensure that you make the right decision for your specific situation, and for your children. If you have questions or concerns regarding parenting rights or custody options, call today for a free consultation with an attorney at Johnson Law Group at (720) 463-4333 or Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558.