Call Us
Custody

The 50-50 Parenting Time Presumption: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

A proposed bill involving Colorado family law recently progressed to the House Committee at the State Capitol after unanimous approval by the State Senate. Entitled SB-15-129, the proposed bill would require Colorado family law judges to make specific findings in their orders if they decided not to award “substantially equal parenting time.” Parts of the bill severely restricting the powers of Parental Responsibilities Evaluators (PREs) and Child and Family Investigators (CFIs) were removed before the bill was proposed to the House.

Defining Substantially Equal Parenting Time

The amended bill was sponsored by Republican Kevin Lundberg and Democrat Daniel Kagan. It was prompted by a request from Carl Roberts, a Republican software salesman in the midst of a six-year custody battle involving his sons, aged 11 and 12.

Modern Family Law attorneys attended the House Committee hearing on April 16, 2015 to ensure that the outcome of the proposed bill was in the best interests of Colorado families and their children.

Witnesses testified in favor of and against the bill at this hearing. Although the definition of “substantially equal parenting time” was hotly debated during the witness testimonies of both supporters and critics of the bill, the House Committee ultimately decided the term meant 50-50 parenting time between the parties.

Our Attorneys Are Ready To Listen

Our experienced family law attorneys have the knowledge, resources, and dedication to prepare your case and protect your interests to find the best possible outcome.

The Problem with the 50-50 Parenting Time Presumption

The Colorado Bar Association, as well as several prominent attorneys, PREs, and CFIs testified against the bill. They argued that the bill was redundant and created a presumption of equal parenting time. Several groups argued that the bill would dissuade survivors of domestic violence from pursuing legal action against their perpetrators. Specifically, they noted that perpetrators who would otherwise be denied parenting time due to a history of abuse and violence would be able to use SB 15-129’s presumption as a bargaining tool during settlement and litigation. Critics also pointed to the fact that the Best Interests of the Child Standard (C.R.S. 14-10-124), which SB 15-129 sought to amend, took 18 months of deliberation, evaluation, and discussion in 2013. They argued that the Standard was working effectively and did not require the additional presumption of 50-50 parenting time. They also argued that the proposed bill would, in fact, increase litigation because it would allow litigants to reopen their cases for review using the new presumption.

Other groups, primarily those focused on father’s rights, testified in favor of the bill. They argued that the status quo gave mothers too much power and criticized the roles of PREs and CFIs in the evaluation process of custody matters. Proponents of the bill also argued that the bill would reduce the number of cases that are litigated, the same argument that favored the recent passage of the spousal support formula (effective January 2014).

Our Calculators

We’re not fans of surprises and we suspect you aren’t either. We built these divorce calculators just for you, so you know what to expect every step of the way.

Final Thoughts

After five hours of testimony and deliberation, the Committee voted 9-4 against the bill and to postpone it indefinitely. Modern Family Law welcomes the House Committee’s decision.

If you need help settling parenting time matters, contact us for a free and confidential consultation

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family law attorneys takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. Our attorneys currently practice in Colorado, California, and Texas. Click the following link to view all of our family law locations. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

Posted April 27, 2015
by: MFL Team


Related Resources

Custody

How To Enforce A Child Custody Order…

Child custody orders are court-ordered documents that may be enforced by a judge. If the other parent is refusing to follow the court order,…

Custody

Lifting Geographic Restrictions in Texas Custody Orders

Lifting a geographic restriction can be tough. Often circumstances have changed since a final order whereby a primary conservator wants to leave the area…

Custody

Vaccinations & Custody: What Happens When Divorced…

When separated parents don’t agree about whether or not their child should get vaccinated, it becomes a legal issue that can sometimes end up…

Back

Free Consultation