Custody and Parental Responsibility

Filed Under (Child Support, Custody and Visitation) on 04-24-2014

child custody, joint custody, parenting Colorado’s Switch to Parental Responsibility Law

Excerpt from the Friendly Divorce Guidebook: How to Do Your Own Divorce in Colorado

Colorado has a better way of talking about what used to be called “custody” of minor children. It was clear to a great many people for a long time that using the word custody to refer to children implied what lawyers call “possession and control” (as in, “You take custody of the airplane tickets, Dear, I’m afraid I might lose them”). For a long time in this country and in Colorado the legal system did, indeed, use very odd words about where children would live and how they would be cared for after their parents’ divorce. The court was said to “award” the children to one or the other parent. One parent would have “legal custody” or the power to make all the major decisions. Or, the parents could elect to share legal custody which meant they were yoked in a double harness on all major decisions: pull together, or pull against each other until everything was at a dead stop and no decisions got made until a mediator, arbitrator or court stepped in. There were no other choices about the power to make decisions.

The law now uses the phrase “allocation of parental responsibilities” to mean the manner in which the court or the parents determine how the children should be raised. Strongly implied in this choice of wording is the idea that the worthy upbringing of children is a responsibility of the parents to the children—a mandate to enforce. This is a far cry from the idea that children are a prize to be won by the parents. Most people welcome this change.

“Allocation of decision-making responsibilities” refers to your agreement or the court’s order about who decides such things as education, health and religion for minor children. “Determination of parenting time” refers to where minor children will live. When the statute refers to child support, the phrase becomes “residential care.” You will need to cover both decision-making and residence of your children in your agreements.

To learn more about Parental responsibilities, parenting time and residential care check out the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook: How to Do Your Own Divorce in Colorado”.





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