Dealing with the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (APR) for your child(ren) – other states may call APR, child custody decisions, but in CO the term “custody” was replaced by APR several years ago - is perhaps the most difficult part of getting a divorce. You and your spouse have decided to call it quits and now you must agree on how to raise your kids separately.
While the task can be daunting, there is a bright side, with the right parenting plan, your children can grow up in two happy households and will get the very best from both parents separately.
The transition can be difficult, but knowing what to expect can make the entire process run more smoothly. Here are four things you should know about Allocating Parental Responsibilities in Colorado:
#1 – The general presumption of the Court is that both parents start off with equal rights regarding the APR of the children.
When a married couple with children separates, both parents have an equal right to the APR of the children.
#2 - The courts operate with the best interests of the child in mind.
This is particularly true when determining which home would be the best placement for the child. When deciding the best interests of the child, the following will be considered:
- The child’s parents’ wishes,
- The child’s wishes (if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express reasoned and independent preferences regarding parenting time),
- The child’s relationship with each parent, siblings, other people who may significantly affect the child’s best interests,
- How comfortable the child is in his or her home, school, and community, and
- The physical and mental health of all people involved.
- The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party.
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support.
- The physical proximity of the parties to each other.
#3 - There are several types of parenting plans.
There are many types of parenting plans but most fall into one of the two categories below, and in most cases, the best parenting plan is one that you and the child’s other parent agree to.
- 50/50 parenting time
- This can take on different forms, but basically, it is when the parties share equal parenting time, whether it’s a week on/week off, 5-2-2-5, 4-3-3-4, or some other creative plan the end result is that the parties have the same amount of parenting time with the child.
- Primary parent parenting plan
- This type of plan can cover a lot of different types of plans, but ultimately, it results in one parent having the majority of the parenting time and the other parent, having a lesser amount of time. There are various reasons why this type of plan may be appropriate, to include the parties’ work schedules, distance living from each other, or other considerations that make a 50/50 plan unfeasible.
#4 – If circumstances change, parenting time agreements may be modified.
Parenting plans are not static. Even if the court has already established an APR, in the event that circumstances change in the future, for either parent or the child, then you may still have options to modify the Court’s orders.
However, there are steps you must take to complete the modification process, including providing proof that the changes will benefit your child and that the modifications are justified as a result of changing circumstances.
This may include any of the following:
- Changes to your child’s physical or emotional needs
- A parent’s injury or illness
- Criminal activity
- Domestic violence
- Parental relocation
- Other major life changes
If you are going through a divorce or other family law matter and need help with your APR arrangements, our team is here to help. We have helped many other families navigate the divorce process and we are prepared to help you too. Don’t delay—reach out right away with any questions you may have.
Schedule a consultation with our Colorado Springs lawyers today by calling us at (719) 626-8530.