Defining 'Parental Responsibilities' in Colorado

In Colorado, the term “parental responsibilities” is used in place of child custody. Colorado’s parental responsibility law can be found under C.R.S. 14-10-124.

Under Colorado law, the general assembly believes that it is in the best interests of all parties to encourage frequent and continuing contact between each parent and their children after the parents separate or get a divorce.

In order to accomplish this, the general assembly urges parents to encourage love, affection, and frequent contact between the parents and children.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Essentially, the best interests of the child are paramount. That said, when allocating parental responsibilities, including the parenting time and decision-making responsibilities, the court shall make a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests, giving the greatest consideration to the child’s physical, mental and emotional needs.

When determining the best interests of a child, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to:

  • The parents’ wishes
  • The financial resources of the parents
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The child’s relationship with their siblings
  • The child’s ties to their school and community
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Any history of domestic violence (child abuse or spousal abuse)
  • The child’s wishes, providing he or she is mature enough to express their preferences

Can parents decide on a parenting plan?

The parents may submit a parenting plan or plans for the court’s approval. If the parties do not submit a parenting plan, or if the court does not approve the parenting plan that was submitted, then the court shall create a parenting plan that will address the allocation of parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

If the parties are having difficulty agreeing to a parenting plan, the court may decide to order mediation pursuant to Sec. 13-22-311, C.R.S. to help the parents formulate, modify, or implement a parenting plan.

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Categories: Child custody, Divorce, Family