When a marriage ends, it’s not just the couple affected. Changes in their family structure also deeply impact children. In Colorado, the law prioritizes the child’s best interests above all else, especially concerning parenting time after a divorce. The state encourages both parents to maintain a healthy, ongoing relationship with their children. However, this is not always possible, particularly in cases involving domestic violence.
Protecting children from harm
If one parent has been charged with domestic violence, the court has to evaluate whether it’s okay for the child to spend time alone with that parent. The court may restrict or limit parenting time to protect the child from potential danger or significant emotional harm. When deciding parenting time, the court always puts the child first. In cases of domestic violence, the court will consider relevant reports and testimony when deciding on parenting time.
Potential restrictions and conditions
If the court finds that a parent has committed domestic violence, it can change the rules about how that parent can see the child. This could mean:
- Supervised visitations
- Picking a safe place to drop off the child
- Restrictions on overnight stays
- Prohibitions on alcohol or controlled substance use during and before time with the child
- Keeping the child and the other parent’s address confidential
- Required domestic violence evaluations and treatment
The court can do whatever it deems necessary to keep the child and the custodial parent safe. It can also suspend or terminate a parent’s time with their child if there’s evidence of domestic violence.
Safety measures for the custodial parent and child
The child’s best interests guide the court. Its goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child while facilitating a positive relationship with both parents whenever safe and appropriate. If you are experiencing domestic violence and figuring out parenting time after a divorce, remember that the law is there to protect you and your child. If custodial parents believe the other parent’s time with the child is detrimental to the child’s health or well-being, they should consult with a family law attorney about modifying the parenting time order in Colorado.