Colorado statutes establish specific rights for a father in divorce, legal separation and paternity cases. The rights of a father extend to residential custody, joint custody and visitation or parenting time. A father is able to pursue his rights either on his own or with legal representation.
Colorado statutory provisions governing residential custody are gender neutral. Because of gender neutrality, a father possesses an equal right with the mother to seek residential custody of a child. In divorce, legal separation and paternity cases a father is able to petition the court to be designated as the primary residential custodian of a child. If granted residential custody, the child lives primarily with the father.
The laws of the state of Colorado express a preference for the parents of a minor child to share legal custody. Legal custody represents the ability of a parent to make major decisions on behalf of the child. A father in Colorado possesses the same rights as a woman to participate in legal custody with a child. Only if a child's health, safety and welfare would be jeopardized in some manner does a parent, including a father, lose the ability to join in joint legal custody of a child.
In situations where the mother is designated to provide the primary residence for a child the father is vested with the right to parenting time. Colorado law utilizes the concept of parenting time as opposed to visitation in regard to the time the non-custodial parent spends with a child. The theory is that a father (or other non-custodial parent) maintains the right to be more than a visitor in the life of his child. Colorado law and court practice establishes minimum requirements in regard to a parenting time schedule.
Colorado statutes provide a father the right to obtain legal representation in family law cases. The Colorado Bar Association maintains a directory of attorneys in different practice areas, including family law. (See Resources).