Colorado family law attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions with regards to child custody in Colorado.
There are not set rules on who will automatically get custody of the children. There are statutory factors that the court must consider in awarding any decision regarding minor children.
Colorado does not have joint custody or sole custody. Colorado uses the term parental responsibility – which can either be joint or primary. If you equally share in overnight visitation with the minor child, you have joint parental responsibility. If a parent has less then 90 overnight visitations with the minor child, the other parent is considered to have primary parental responsibility.
Colorado also divides residential responsibility from decision-making responsibility. Sole decision-making responsibility occurs when a parent is able to make all major decisions (education, religious, extracurricular, and medical) regarding the minor child without consulting with the other parent. Joint decision-making responsibility occurs when the parents have to share the responsibility of those decisions.
Child support is determined based on gross monthly income and other expenses. Who has the majority of time with the child, while a factor, is not determinative of the support obligation.
No. Child support payment or lack thereof is completely independent of a parent’s right to see his/her child.
In Colorado, there is not set age limit on when a child can decide which parent to live with. The court will consider the child’s wishes to the extent that the child is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule.
Generally speaking, no. Third parties do not have visitation rights to the minor children unless an independent action to gain those rights is started.
A parenting plan is the plan that parents submit to the Court allocating parenting time with the minor child, holiday visitation, etc. It is a requirement as both parties need to know what terms are in place for visitation, decision making, tax exemptions, etc.
Yes, it should always be integrated.
Your final parenting time decisions will be determined by the court during Permanent Orders. It is possible to have Temporary Orders that allocate parenting time provisions, or the parties can agree to a parenting schedule.
A parenting plan, including a parenting schedule, can be modified at any point whenever such an action would be in the best interest of the minor child. However, a substantial modification of parenting time can only be filed if it is shown that the child’s present environment may endanger the child’s physical health.
If you cannot mutually agree on a parenting schedule, the court will have to determine a schedule that it deems is in the best interest of the minor child.
There are many factors that are used to determine a parenting visitation. It is recommended that you stay child focused and constantly ask the question, “Why is this in the best interest of my child?”
Visitation is parenting time. It is when one parent gets to “visit” with the minor children.
Yes, if the court finds that supervised or no visitation is necessary because a party is a danger either physically or emotionally to the minor child, it can be ordered.
The courts are not allowed to be biased for one parent due to sex.
Yes, however you will need to abide by the Rules of Evidence in introducing the proposed evidence.
No, but in some cases their services are highly helpful.
Usually no. In fact, it is discouraged to have children involved in court proceedings.
Colorado has a Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). It was put into place to try and protect the child and parent from the situation where one parent abducts a child unlawfully and refuses to return. The UCAPA gives the courts the authority to restrict parenting time if certain factors are met, issue warrants for arrests of an offending party, and ties in with the Hague Convention to secure the return of abducted children.