Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Under Colorado Law
Child custody, known as “allocation of parental responsibilities” (APR) under Colorado law, determines the parenting rights of each parent after a divorce. The allocation of parental responsibilities includes parenting time, or which days/times each parent spends with the child, and allocation of decision-making responsibilities, or who gets to make major decisions for the child, such as where the child will go to school or which doctor or therapist the child will see.
Negotiating child custody (APR) is among the most difficult parts of getting a divorce for those who have children. Although you and the other parent are ready to end your relationship, it doesn’t mean you want to spend less time with your children.
At Halligan LLC, we understand how overwhelming the child custody (APR) process can be. Our experienced child custody attorneys have helped families throughout the Denver area protect the well-being of their children while resolving custody and visitation disputes. Our goal is to achieve a fair outcome for everyone involved.
If you live in the Denver area and are facing a child custody (APR) dispute, contact us today at (720) 608-2361 to schedule a consultation. You can discuss any questions or concerns you may have with one of our experienced Denver family law attorneys.
Why is Child Custody (APR) Important?
The allocation of parental responsibilities can be one of the most contentious parts of the divorce process. But both sides must come to an agreement that prioritizes the child’s well-being.
Here are just some of the ways that orders allocating parental responsibilities can affect your family’s life after divorce:
- Well-Being of the Child: Parenting Time arrangements have profound effects on children’s emotional and physical well-being. It’s important to set up a parenting time schedule that will allow your child to thrive. It is also crucial to consider the child’s age and emotional development when determining a parenting time schedule. For example, it is generally accepted that babies should not have overnights with the non-primary caregiver - at least not right away. In general, a 50/50 split is usually not recommended to begin until the child is a little older, which typically begins (at the earliest) at school age.
- Living Arrangements: Determines how the child’s time will be divided between parents after the divorce.
- Decision Making: Major decisions for the child concerning physical health, mental health, education, and religion (although religion is technically constitutionally protected and each parent can do whatever religion they want with child during his/her parenting time) must be allocated. This allocation can be to both parents (joint decision making), to one parent (sole decision making), or each parent can have sole decision making in different areas
Types of Custody in Colorado
Unlike many other states, Colorado does not have sole custody or joint custody. Instead, we have parenting time which includes physical custody and/or visitation. Parents can have anything from equal (50/50) to supervised parenting time depending on the circumstances.
As mentioned above, decision-making responsibility (regarding education, religion, and other matters) is different than residential responsibility in Colorado. Parents will either have joint or sole decision-making responsibility and will be able to either share or solely determine issues like healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities.
FAQs About Denver Child Custody
Which type of parenting time arrangement is best for my family?
The type of parenting time arrangement you make depends on the best interest of the child, including your child’s needs and your (and the other parent’s) parental strengths and weaknesses. Every situation is unique. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best arrangement for your family.
Does my child have a say in parenting time arrangements?
It depends. The child’s wishes as to parenting time is just one of many factors the court must consider, and can only be considered if the child is sufficiently mature to express an opinion as to parenting time. Colorado law does not have a set age that determines when a child is sufficiently mature. However, even if the court does consider the child’s wishes, parenting time is never determined based solely on a child’s input.
How are visitation rights determined?
In Colorado, there is no such thing as visitation - there is only parenting time. Parenting time parameters determine how much time each parent will spend with their child, which can be limited depending on the circumstances.
Colorado’s parenting time laws allow children to maintain strong relationships with their parents after a divorce. The courts prefer that parents set up their own parenting time schedule. A parenting time schedule can be made privately, in parenting classes and counseling, or through mediation.
If you can’t reach an agreement together, the court will determine when the child sees each parent. But you know your child best, so it’s beneficial to create a mutually-agreeable visitation schedule without the court’s involvement.
What if my child disagrees with the parenting time arrangement?
A child cannot change a parenting time arrangement. If a minor child decides to live with the other parent instead, that parent could be violating the court order. However, parenting time can be modified if it’s deemed to be in the best interest of the child.
Meet with a Denver Child Custody Lawyer
At Halligan LLC, we can help you reach a parenting time arrangement that caters to your strengths as a parent and prioritizes your child’s best interests. We understand that child custody is likely one of the most stressful aspects of your divorce. With our help, you and your family can transition to a brighter post-divorce future.
To learn more, contact us today at (720) 608-2361 to schedule a consultation at our Denver office.