As child custody lawyers, all of us at COLaw Team will tell you one thing: child custody laws in Colorado are based on the best interest of the child. Family law and child custody lawyers recognize that it is in the child’s best interest to have both parents participate in raising them whenever possible.
Making Decisions and Parenting Time
In Colorado, the court uses the term “parental responsibility” that can be either primary or joint. Thus, the custody proceeding in court is actually called the Allocation of Parental Responsibility or “APR.”
In Colorado, child custody laws are split into two categories: parenting time (physical custody) and decision-making (legal custody).
Legal custody in Colorado means a parent’s authority to make decisions about the child’s welfare, including medical decisions and decisions regarding education. Physical custody refers to the child’s physical presence with a parent or “visitation.”
Child custody court orders in Colorado may order parents to share the decision-making responsibility when it comes to the child, delegate it to one parent, or divide the decisions to be made and give each parent control over certain aspects of the child’s life.
If parents share joint legal custody, they should be able to cooperate, make decisions together, and create a mutually supportive environment. If there is evidence that one parent has been abusive, joint legal custody will usually not be awarded.
In Colorado, both parents are responsible for child support. When it comes to calculation, the gross incomes of both parents are taken into account, along with certain types of public assistance, a second job, or retirement plan. From there, a percentage (about 20% for each child, and 10% for every additional child) of the parents’ combined gross income is calculated, then that amount is split between both parents—depending on a few other factors, like:
- The financial resources of the child
- The financial resources of the parent who has custody (including agreements to reduce support or to reduce it to a nominal amount since support cannot be waived in its entirety)
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not ended
- The physical/emotional condition of the child and their educational needs
- The financial resources/needs of the noncustodial parent
Child support payment obligations can be offset by one party paying all or substantially more of the child care expenses, health insurance coverage, medical expenses, educational expenses, and travel expenses. A parent must pay child support in Colorado until the child turns 19 or 21, if the child is still attending high school. If a child cannot support themselves due to a mental or physical disability, the child support continues indefinitely, but it can be modified as financial circumstances of the parent or child change over time.
Separating With Children
If you have children, separating is no easy task. Let COLaw Team help. Get in touch with us today to get started on your case.