Parents in Colorado are typically ordered to share legal custody or have joint legal custody (or “joint parental responsibilities”). This means both parents share responsibility for the major life decisions for the child, such as health and educational decisions. It is rare that one parent or another is awarded “sole custody”.
What many call “child custody” is referred to as “parental responsibilities” in Colorado, but responsibilities are the same: deciding who the child lives with, who gets to make major decisions (such as educational or health decisions), and what “parenting time” or visitation will be for the non-custodial parent.
The family court determines parental responsibilities based on the best interests of the child standard. This involves many factors, such as the wishes of both parents and children, the emotional bonds between parents, and how hard a time the child would have adjusting to a new neighborhood or school. All of these are considered when families create a parenting plan.
There is no one way to create a parenting plan post divorce, but there are recommended, often used plans. It all boils down to the needs and backgrounds of the families, the ages of the children, and other circumstances that make each family unique. Co-parenting mediation can help.
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