How Is the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Decided?

mom and daughter reading a book

When you have kids and you need to get a divorce, the question of APR can feel daunting. Please know that this is completely normal.

When it comes to APR, here’s how it’s decided in Colorado:

How Decisions Are Made Regarding APR

There are no fast and hard rules regarding APR in Colorado. The courts must consider several factors before deciding on an APR. However, orders are based on what will serve the best interests of the child.

Parenting Time vs. Decision-Making

In Colorado, parenting time refers to actual time with the child, and decision-making refers to who gets to make the decisions for the benefit of the child.

Parenting Time

Parenting time concerns the child’s physical presence with a parent, whether for an afternoon or an entire week or longer, including overnights.

A judge may decide that it is within the child’s best interests for both parents to have mostly equal parenting time, under one of various parenting time arrangements such as a week on/week off, or a 5-2-2-5 schedule. Or the Court could conclude and order that it is in the child’s best interest to have one primary physical home and spend particular scheduled periods of time at the other parent’s home.


Decision-making rights refer to a parent’s power to make essential decisions about the welfare of the child, including judgments concerning education, health, religious upbringing, and/or extracurricular activities. Parenting time and decision-making are separate, which means a judge may order joint (or equal) parenting time and choose not to order joint decision-making.

The court can order:

  • Parents to share the decision-making responsibilities,
  • One parent to have sole decision making, or
  • The division of decision-making responsibilities, giving each parent control over particular elements of the child’s life.

Whether you share joint decision making will depend on multiple factors that the Court must consider, including the following:

  • How well you and your partner can cooperate and make decisions together,
  • The former pattern of each parent’s involvement in the child’s life (the environment should be mutually supportive),
  • How well you and your child’s other parent can work together to provide a positive and satisfying relationship with the child, and
  • Whether one parent will be better able to plan frequent meetings between the child and both parents.

If there has been a history of domestic violence between the parties then the court will likely consider that history and may deny joint decision-making responsibility to the party who was found, by the Court, to be the abusive partner in the relationship.

If you’re going through a divorce and need help with APR issues, we are here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions right away.

Schedule a consultation with our Colorado Springs lawyers today by calling us at (719) 626-8530.

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