Like most Colorado parents, you understand that parenthood often includes making difficult decisions that are in your children's best interests. This sometimes means the decisions you make will not hold much favor with your kids; for instance, they may want to eat as much candy as they can gets their hands on, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should allow it. Since you decided to divorce, you may have also determined that you believe you should have sole custody of your kids.
It would be easy if the judge would simply agree after you explain your reasons. In reality, you may have your work cut out to try to convince the court that a sole custody arrangement in your favor would be better for your kids than a shared custody plan. The court's main priority is to make decisions it believes are in the best interests of your children. The judge will consider physical, psychological and financial issues and will also observe your behavior in the courtroom.
Things to do and not do
If your marriage ended on a particularly sour note, you may be tempted to take out your frustration on your ex by letting the court know exactly how you feel about your co-parent. While it might relieve some built-up stress, it is not likely to work toward your favor regarding the court's custody decision-making process. The following list includes further explanation about things you should and shouldn't do when seeking sole custody of your children:
- If your plan is to storm into court to try to make your ex look bad, it may backfire because the court is not likely to look favorably on a parent whose main goal seems to be to speak negatively about his or her co-parent.
- If it appears that you are more concerned about convincing the court that your ex is a jerk than you are about the physical and psychological well-being of your children, things might not turn out the way you'd hoped.
- The court is concerned about the lifestyle your children are likely to have if you have sole custody. Showing that you encourage a healthy living routine can help convince the court that it is in your children's best interests to reside with you full time.
- Unless there is a valid reason to request supervised visitation or to tell the court that your co-parent is somehow a detriment to your children, it is always best to show the court that you encourage your children to maintain an active relationship with their other parent.
You can provide your kids with means to contact their other parent at any time. Many Colorado parents take advantage of advanced technology to do this, such as cell phones, iPods or electronic tablets. On the other hand, if there is a serious reason for you to believe your kids should not have contact with their other parent, you can bring it to the court's immediate attention.
The final ruling
The bottom line is that for the court to grant you sole custody, the judge overseeing your case must believe that this decision would serve your children's physical, emotional, psychological and financial well-being in the best manner possible.