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What makes a father entitled to joint custody?How much give should I agree to in negotiating outside of court ?

Westminster, CO |

I am asking for joint custody but in attempts to settle outside of the courts I have offered every other weekend to start with a ua before pick up to address her concern for drugs,I offered a mid weekend visit with her to do a wellfare check,I offered unl phone calls and skype every night,I offered to pay for her to drive further or to have my parents pick up to address her concern for my accidents,I offered to have my oldest daughter be with her mother on the weekends with son to give full attention to him,She refuses to agree on anything,Her offer was two supervised visits a week for four months which was unnacceptable to me due to my son and I having a good healthy relationship already where do I go from here or should I stand and not give in any more

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Attorney answers 3


Under current Colorado law, the term "joint custody" has no meaning. When it did have meaning, it meant that both parents had to agree on major decisions affecting the child and had nothing to do with where the child lived and how often the child saw the other parent. Because too many people, lawyers and judges included, used the term to mean something else, the state legislature has completely removed that term from the state's law.

So, what entitles a parent to have their child with them half the time? In general, if both parents live fairly close to each other so that getting the child to and from school on time is not an issue, and if there is no realistic concern about the child's safety when with one parent or the other, and if the child is not a breastfed infant, many judges will seriously consider a 50/50 parenting time schedule to be appropriate.

But, judges are people, and each has his/her own concerns when looking at parenting time cases.

Regardless of whether you wind up with a 50/50 situation, and relying on the limited information you have provided, it sounds as though the mother is asking for a lot more restrictions on your parenting time than a judge would require if the matter were put before the judge to decide.

You should consult with one or more competent family law attorneys about your specific facts, and, if the mother insists on more than you are willing to give, set the matter for hearing and let your judge or magistrate decide the issue.


Joint custody generally refers to a requirement that major decisions regarding the children must be made jointly. It does not necessarily involve 50/50 parenting time. The issue of decision making is separate from an appropriate parenting time schedule.

If you and the mother cannot agree, the court wil attempt to craft a parenting time schedule that the judge believes is in the best interests of the children. Many factors go into this calculation. Supervised visitations are rarely ordered by the court unless the court believes there is a threat of physical or emotional harm if unsupervised visits are allowed.

If your children are important to you, you really need to consider hiring an experienced family law attorney to present your case in the best light. This is the only way to get the best outcome for yourself and your children.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.


When you use the term "joint custody," I presume you are talking about sharing time with your child or children (your question is a little unclear on the number of children). Judges will determine something called the "allocation or parental responsibilities" if you are unable to reach an agreement on two things: (1) Decision-making and (2) Parenting Time. Decision-making involves major decisions relating to education, health care, extracurricular activity participation and religious upbringing. Parenting time involves overnights with either of you. There is no presumed parenting time arrangement under Colorado law. What the court does is look at what we call the "best interests" of the children, applying a number of factos under a statute, 14-10-124. In other words, the determination isn;t about you or the mother of the kids, it's about the kids!

To navigate those waters, you ought to sit down with an experienced family law attorney. If you are in the Adams County courts, the judges expect everyone to follow the rules and meet deadlines -- which can be a real challenge without guidance.

On a sidenote, if you have had substance abuse challenges in the past and mom raises (and proves) those issues, you can almost count on some sort of monitoring program being ordered, as that would be in the best interests of the kids.

I wih you luck!

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

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