Parenting Time in Colorado custody cases refers to how much time the child/children will spend on each of the parent’s home after divorce or legal separation. Parenting Time used to be called visitation in the Colorado divorce statutes.
The Court can divide parenting time equally between the parents or give one parent more time than to the other. One of the parent could be specified as the Primary Parent or the parent with whom the children reside the majority of the time.
In a Colorado divorce involving children the parties must submit a parenting plan to the court. The parenting plan outlines the wishes of the parents as to the parenting time. The court will approve most parenting plans, if the parents agree and if the court finds the parenting plan to be in the best interest of the children. If the parents can’t come to an ag agreement, the court will decide how parenting time will be divided, based on best interests of child (Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-124).
The court ordered parenting time in overnight visitations depends on multiple factors such as the child’s age. Very young children, approximately under 2.5 years old will likely have few, if any, overnights with a non-custodial parent. Judges typically prefer shorter parenting time periods for younger children. School age children often have parenting time with one parent during school week. The parent is sometimes called the School Parent.
Weekends and non-school contact days may be divided in variety of ways. In some cases parents can split the weekends in an every-other weekend arrangement.
Holiday parenting time may be divided between parents in such way that allows both parents to alternately enjoy them with their children.
There is no age in Colorado at which a minor child may decide his or her own parenting time; however, the more mature the child, the more credence a judge will give the child’s wishes.
If there is conflict and disagreement about parenting time between the parties, the court may appoint a Child and Family Investigator or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator, to conduct an through evaluation of the family situation which can include interviews the parties, children, and others. The evaluators will then make recommendation of parenting time to the court.
In deciding the best parenting time plan for your children now and for the future can be challenging. You need not only to think about what is going on now, but also how things the parenting time is suitable for the future, especially if the children are young now, but will enter school years in the future. You should consult with a knowledgeable child custody attorney who knows the ins and outs of parenting time plans as well as what to do when the agreement may need to be modified or even enforced.
The content of this page is for general informational purposes only, and should not be considered advice in your case