Child custody (referred to in Colorado as “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” or “Parenting Time”), is based on a number of factors related to the best interest of the minor child. Factors relevant to the best interest of the child include: the wishes of each parent, the relationship of each parent to the child, the child’s connections to their home, school and community, whether the parents are able to encourage love, affection and contact with the other parent, and each parent’s past patterns of involvement with the child. Contrary to popular belief there is no specific age when a child can choose with which parent they reside. Instead, if a child is sufficiently mature to express an opinion on custody, their opinion will be considered along with the other factors related to their best interest.
When making agreements regarding parental responsibilities (custody), parents will ultimately enter into a “Parenting Plan” to address both major decision-making for the minor child and overnights schedules. Major decisions include the areas of medical care, mental health care, education (including choice of schools), and religion. While it is often standard for parents to share decision-making in all major areas, there are some cases in which allocating major decision-making to one parent over the other is appropriate.
Overnight schedules determine when the child will spend time with each parent and often include separate schedules for regular parenting time and holiday or vacation parenting time. While many families determine that equal (“50-50”) parenting time is best for their child, there is no standard custody arrangement and the best interest of the child is always considered when determining parenting plans.
The attorneys at Harrington Brewster Mahoney and Smits, P.C. have a long history of successfully working with families, whether in the context of mediation, collaborative law, or traditional litigation to reach parenting time/custody agreements. Our attorneys recognize that children are often the most fragile and unintended victims in divorce. At Harrington Brewster & Clein, P.C. we strive to assist families in transitioning through the divorce process with comprehensive and fair parenting plans, while keeping the needs of their children at the forefront of every custody decision.