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Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony finalize divorce, child custody

For Colorado parents going through the marriage dissolution process, child custody is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and emotional issues they must face. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and her ex-husband, Marc Anthony had to deal with the issue in their protracted divorce proceedings. Last week the two finalized their divorce, and with it the custody arrangements for their twin children.

Under the final divorce decree Lopez will get primary custody of the two six-year-olds, a boy and a girl. They - and their nannies - will be with Anthony seven days out of each month. Although the custody agreement was finalized in March, the final judgment was not entered until last week due to backlogs in the family court.

The terminology now used by Colorado courts reflects changed attitudes about parenting. Our courts refer to custody as parenting responsibility, which empowers a parent to make critical decisions about the child's upbringing, including decisions about health care and education. Parenting time, formerly called visitation, refers to how often the child will physically stay with each parent. Courts in Colorado typically order a set number of overnight stays with each parent.

When making custody decisions, Colorado courts strive to reach a result that is in the best interests of the child. The parents' wishes are also considered, as are other factors including the physical and mental health of parents and child and the child's level of adjustment to school and home life. Courts in Colorado take a negative view of any effort by one parent to alienate the child from the other parent; another factor the courts consider in awarding custody is the extent to which each parent encourages a loving relationship between the child and the other parent.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony finalize years-long divorce," Christie D'Zurilla, June 18, 2014

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