How Is Child Custody Determined in Colorado?
During a divorce proceeding, the divorcing parties must agree on sharing the custody of their children. If domestic violence is one of the factors for their divorce, they may need the involvement of lawyers from a reputable Colorado criminal defense law firm to mediate the process.
If the parents still can’t make an amicable decision, the court steps in to determine custody, taking into account many factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The children’s relationship with each parent, their siblings, and other significant people in their life
- The ability of each parent to place the children’s needs before their own
- Whether either of the parents neglected or abused the children
- The physical distance between the parent’s homes
- Whether one parent has abused the other
- Each parent’s ability to encourage a healthy relationship between the children and the other parent
- How easy it is for the children to adjust to a new community, home, and community
- The preference of the child, depending on their age
- The wishes of both parents
Domestic Violence and Child Custody
Domestic violence can make an already complex situation more complicated. If you have a criminal record and a pending domestic violence charge, winning a child custody case could become difficult, but all hope is not lost. A Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyer can provide the legal guidance and representation you need at such a time.
They can fight to mandatory criminal protection orders and civil permanent protection orders in order to help you regain access to your children despite facing domestic violence charges. An experienced domestic violence lawyer knows that many factors could be involved in your case, which doesn’t entirely make you unfit to be a good parent to your children.
Defining Domestic Violence in Colorado
In Colorado, domestic violence is any act or threatened action against a person with whom the offender is intimately involved or has had an intimate relationship. Violence against the victim’s personal property or animal is also domestic violence.
The act entails more than just physical violence and covers the following:
Some behaviors that comprise domestic violence are:
- Emotional abuse to make the victim feel afraid and unimportant
- Economic abuse in the form of taking full control of all the finances in the household
- Psychological abuse in the form of threats and intimidation
- Verbal abuse in the form of name-calling, shouting, and yelling
If the prosecution proves you committed any of these actions as part of an underlying criminal act, you could be convicted of a domestic violence offense
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
The penalties for domestic violence can vary from case to case, depending on the evidence presented. Generally, you risk the following:
- Hefty fines
- Jail or prison time
- Your right to own a firearm denied
- Possible jail time
- Being required to seek counseling
Going to jail for domestic violence can greatly curtail your custody rights. It will also prevent you from seeing your children as often as you would like as you serve your sentence behind bars.
Besides, reintegration into society can be challenging once you complete your sentence. Let a skilled domestic violence attorney in Colorado Springs help you fight the charges.
How Can a Domestic Violence Charge Affect My Child Custody Case?
Victims of domestic violence, such as your spouse and children, can obtain protective orders that prohibit you from contacting or getting close to them. If one of these no-contact protection orders are in place in your case, your chances of getting child custody are greatly impaired.
That’s because Colorado takes the health and safety of children very seriously. If a court feels that the children’s safety may be jeopardized while with one parent, it could order supervised visitation or suspend it altogether. Facing domestic violence charges could, therefore, complicate your child custody case.
Domestic Violence Evidence
If your case involves violence against the other parent, the court may rule out the possibility of shared custody where you both make decisions for the children. A judge can arrive at this decision if there are:
- Police reports documenting the alleged abuse
- Photographs showing you physically abusing the victim
- Pending criminal cases against you
- Frequent and severe incidents that indicate possibilities of future recurrence
- Instances of mistreatment against or toward the children, causing extreme side effects on them
However, an experienced Colorado Springs domestic violence attorney may still be able to help you get the best possible outcome in your criminal case, which in turn will assist you in negotiating for the most favorable outcome in the custody case. It could be possible to get joint custody if:
- You demonstrate that you have been following the restraining orders against you
- You have not committed further acts of violence against the victims
- You’re on parole or probation and have complied with the term
- You have finished a 52-week batterer intervention program
- You have completed a court-order substance abuse counseling
- You can prove that getting joint or full custody benefits the children.
What If I Was Wrongly Accused of Domestic Violence?
It’s not uncommon for one parent to falsely accuse the other of domestic violence to get a favorable custody arrangement at the expense of the other parent.
If you have falsely been accused of domestic violence, let a skilled lawyer from a criminal defense law firm in Colorado represent you and help you fight the charges for a favorable outcome.
Skilled Legal Guidance to Help You Fight for Your Child Custody Rights
A domestic violence charge or conviction can adversely affect the outcome of your child custody case in Colorado. However, just because you made a mistake in the past doesn’t mean you should be robbed of the joys of parenthood. Proving why you deserve custody of your children may be difficult, but a skilled domestic violence attorney in Colorado can help.
Our law firm provides criminal defense for those accused of domestic abuse and violence. We understand each case differs and will create a personalized defense strategy to help you win. Don’t let a domestic violence charge deny you the chance to get child custody. Call Joyner Law at (719) 294-0566 to schedule a FREE in-depth case evaluation.