In an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (“APR” for short) case or divorce with children, one of the biggest client concerns is spending time with their kids. The traditional term most used by people when thinking of this topic is custody. In Colorado, however, the courts no longer use this term as it carries some negative connotations. Instead, Colorado uses the term “parenting time” to describe how and when parents get to spend time with their children. This post aims to give you insight about parenting time by providing some generalizations on the subject.
Parenting time is what we all used to call “visitation.” It’s the second half of the old “custody” term that we now divide into parenting time and decision making. It’s the days and times of exchanges of the kids between parents. They may be very complex and specific, or not. Frequently, orders about parenting time will outline a parenting schedule (when and where the children will be on a given day), and spell out some duties associated with a parent’s time.
Parenting time schedules can take any number of forms. Most people think of 50/50 or equally shared time as being the most common. However, any 50/50 schedule may vary significantly from another 50/50 schedule. This is because of the court’s (or the parents’) ability to create a program that best reflects the needs of the parents and the child(ren). Countless other forms of parenting time schedules may exist, and there is no way to cover them all here. Suffice to say, no matter your situation, there is likely a parenting schedule that will work for your situation.
As with most issues involving children, the foremost concern of the court is the best interests of the child(ren). By statute, the court is directed to consider how its orders will best promote the best interests of the child(ren). Under the law, the court is directed to consider nine different factors (and their applicability) to any given situation to determine the best interests of the child. After finding and weighing these factors, a court will sometimes review and discuss each element, detailing how their analysis has influenced the orders regarding parenting time. Then, the court’s order will allocate the time for the parents.
Aside from the obvious benefit of getting to spend time with your children, there are other benefits you gain from court-ordered time. Namely, these benefits are more along the lines of safeguards for you and your children. Because time is delineated as certain days of a given week, it protects your interests in exercising your time with your child(ren) on a specific day. Therefore, if the other parent attempts to withhold your children from you or fails to abide by the terms of the order, you may be able to seek assistance from the court.
Being able to spend time with your children is likely one of the biggest concerns you may have as a parent. If you’re amid a divorce or an APR case, this concern is probably even more palpable. You can sleep easy knowing that Modern Family Law’s attorneys practice exclusively in family law. At Modern Family Law, we deliver top tier legal representation. To reach people in need of our help, we provide consultations with our attorneys free of charge. Call us for a free consultation. Our team of family law attorneys is here for you!
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