Colorado Child Support and Custody Laws - Parental Responsibilities
COLORADO CHILD CUSTODY AND ALLOCATION OF PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
The Colorado Legislature recently changed the language of most
state statutes that once referred to child “custody”.
The new terminology is “allocation of parental responsibility” or “allocation
of decision-making responsibility”. The change is more than
superficial. The primary reason for the modification was to reduce
the tendency of parents in a “custody” dispute to look
at custody as a property right, i.e. to treat their children as
objects to be fought over.
The focus of the new language is on the decisions that must be
made regarding the raising of children, and how the parents will
either cooperate in those decisions or divide them between the parents.
The new language in Colorado encourages parents to portion decision-making
responsibilities into discrete areas, such as education, religion
or health, and either share responsibilities in each of the areas
they identify or assign responsibility for specific decision-making
areas to one or the other parent.
The new terminology also makes clearer the difference between what
were once two kinds of child "custody”, ” legal”
child custody and “residential” child custody. Legal
custody referred to which parent made decisions regarding the children
and residential custody referred to where the children lived and
the visitation rights of the “non-custodial” parent.
Residential child custody or visitation is now referred to as “parenting
time.” So, when divorcing parents think about “custody,”
they should think in terms of (1) who will make the decisions (allocation
of parental responsibilities), and (2) parenting time, or with whom
the children will live primarily and the other parent’s schedule
for spending time with the children.
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