Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (between Parents)

In Colorado, custody is referred to as the “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities”(APR) which includes decision-making responsibilities, parenting time and child support. APR is incorporated in proceedings for divorce, legal separation, or invalidity or it may be filed as an independent case if the parents were never married.

Court decisions will be based on the “best interest of the child” standard, which encompasses the child’s safety, physical, mental and emotional health and needs.

Best Interest factors do not include the sex of the parent, conduct of the parent that does not affect the relationship with the child, or if a parent requests genetic testing.

A parenting plan, which incorporates the parents’ APR agreements, can be submitted to the court for approval. Parents are encouraged by the courts to develop a parenting time schedule because they are the ones that must ultimately make the schedule work. For parents that have trouble reaching an agreement, the court will order mediation.

For contested cases, the court may appoint additional professionals to assist the court in determining the best interests of the child. These professionals include:

Child and Family Investigator (CFI)- an independent investigator who investigates and make specific recommendations to the court in a brief report . May be an attorney, mental health professional or other qualified and trained individual.

Child Legal Representative (CLR)- an attorney who represents the best interests of the child. The CLR is not bound by the child’s wishes. Usually appointed when the parents disagree on what the child wants.

Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE)-licensed mental health professional who assesses and evaluates the parties, children, and their relationships, providing a comprehensive APR evaluation.

Litigation over parental responsibilities is usually lengthy, expensive and harmful to your children, and at the end you will still need to keep some kind of relationship with your ex. If you have any questions about child custody please speak to an attorney.

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Our Northern Colorado family law firm offers free initial consultations to new clients. Please call us today at 970-624-6060.