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Allocating Parental Decision-Making In Colorado
Colorado differs from the majority of other states in the manner in which the law allocates parental responsibilities and decision-making with respect to minor children in divorce cases. Most states simply allocate all such matters to the party that has custody of the child. Colorado law divides such responsibilities into two aspects. These legislated complexities are governed by the Allocation of Parental Responsibility (APR) laws. The particular facts of a given case will determine if the allocation of parental responsibilities will be given solely to one parent or will be jointly shared by both. This allocation does not always depend exclusively upon the amount of quality time a parent spends with the minor child.
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“Decision-making” refers to a parent’s participation in making major decisions regarding the parties’ children. Major decisions include medical care, mental health care, education and religion. While parents often share decision-making, there are some cases in which allocating major decision-making to one parent is appropriate. Typically, each parent is empowered to make minor decisions for the children during their own parenting time without consultation or agreement with the other parent. Minor decisions include, for example, bedtime, allowance, curfew, clothes worn to school and the like.
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Allocating parental responsibilities in Colorado is more of an art than legal science. It hinges upon a complicated, case-specific determination of both facts and circumstances. Common sense would dictate that such decisions are best left to the parents who mutually adhere to the standard of the child’s best interest and the law most certainly supports this notion. There are, however, certain circumstances under which the courts have been asked to intervene to mandate that the sole allocation of certain decisions be awarded to a particular parent. Should you find yourself embroiled in such an allocation controversy with your child’s other parent, you may rest assured that at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., we have extensive experience in all aspects of the allocation of parental responsibilities.