(719) 328-1616

Child Custody Basics in Colorado: Understanding Decision Making and Parenting Time

If you and your partner have decided to end your relationship and share a child, it is important to establish a custody agreement that is in the best interests of the child. If you are unable to come to an agreement with your former partner, the court will determine a parenting plan based on each parent’s situation and what is in the best interests of the child. Additionally, the court will determine which parent has decision making authority and a parenting time schedule. Discover why it’s important to hire a lawyer during this time, as well as the differences between both.

What is Decision Making?

Decision making responsibilities are defined by Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-124 (1.5)(b). Decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities will be determined by the court or by agreement of the parties and must be in the best interests of the child. The Colorado courts believe that it is in the best interests of the children and the parties for both parents to share decision making responsibilities; however, in some cases the court may find that is simply not a safe option for the children. Both parents should work together and provide loving and supportive environments for their children. If one parent is abusive, the court may not grant joint decision making responsibilities.

What is Parenting Time?

Parenting time in Colorado is defined by Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-124(1.5) Many factors are considered if the court decides a parent should be awarded sole physical custody, or if joint parenting time is appropriate, or if the court should consider a mutual agreement between the parties regarding parenting time. Just like decision making authority, the Colorado courts believe that it is in the best interests of the children when both parents are involved and have joint parenting time. However, there are protections for situations where abuse, whether domestic violence, physical, mental, or sexual abuse, may have an effect on the determination of parenting time.

Determining Parenting Time

Whether determining decision making authority or parenting time, the court will consider:

  • Each parent’s housing situation: Do they have a safe home for the child? How close is the home to the child’s school? Who else lives in the home? Does the child get along with the other members of the home?
  • Each parent’s ability to encourage a loving relationship with the other parent: Can they promote and encourage love, affection, and contact with the other parent and child?
  • The best interest of the child: What would be ideal for the child?
  • Each parent’s physical, mental, and emotional health: Are the parents healthy? Do they suffer from any issues that could make it harder for them to fulfill their parenting duties?

Modifying Child Custody

What happens if you aren’t satisfied with your child custody agreement? What if you want to spend more time with your child? Or, if you’re paying child support, what if you want to change it?

In some situations, the parties are able to come to an agreement, but it is never advisable that you make any agreements outside of the court. If you are able to come to a mutual agreement, you should still consult with an experienced family law attorney to advise you of any potential longterm issues and memorilize the agreement with the court. Working with a family lawyer in Colorado will help you figure out the best solution moving forward and ensure that you will be protected later should an issue arise.

Why Hire a Family Lawyer?

A good family lawyer will advocate for you from the get-go, help you demonstrate that you are a fit parent, and deserve full or joint custody of your child. If you need to modify your child custody or child support order, then a lawyer can help you with that as well. If you don’t have a lawyer in your corner, things may not go your way and it could have devastating consequences. You may not be able to have a meaningful relationship with your child, and that could have a lasting impact on you and them. If you need assistance, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Get in Touch with the Law Offices of Clifton Black

Do you need help with child custody in Colorado? Contact the Law Offices of Clifton Black for help today. Our experienced team of attorneys and paralegals is ready to assist you. Call us now at (719) 328-1616 or get in touch on our website.

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC