Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Overview
For most fathers getting a divorce, the number one concern is maintaining a close relationship with their children. Many fathers believe the odds are stacked against them. They believe the mother will automatically get the kids and the best he can hope for is a few weekends a month.
Legally, justice is “blind”. The law in Colorado does not favor mothers over fathers. However, decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities are ultimately made by humans. A judge’s prejudices can find their way into the rulings. A stay-at-home mother often has the upper hand, but the father can fight that bias — and win.
Denver Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Lawyer for Fathers
If you are a father fighting for equal time with your children and the ability to make decisions for your children you are the underdog. But with a Denver allocation of parental responsibilities lawyer who fights for fathers and has experience overcoming the prejudices against them, your chances will be vastly improved. Sharon Liko is a family attorney who stands up for the rights of men in the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly child custody) battles.
You can have a skilled, aggressive attorney on your side who understands the unique challenges fathers face in parental responsibilities (formerly child custody) matters. Call today at to set up a consultation.
Based in Denver, Colorado, Sharon Liko serves clients across Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, and Broomfield counties. She is also licensed to practice in Texas.
Colorado Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Information Center
- What is the Difference between Child Custody and Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?
- What is decision making time?
- What is parenting time?
- How does the court determine the child’s best interests?
- Should a parent plan for a parental responsibilities hearing?
- Does a parental responsibility arrangement affect child support?
Parental Responsibilities (formerly called Child Custody)
In 1998, Colorado abolished the term custody as it relates to child issues. Following a concept developed in the UK, Colorado decided to make the issues regarding “custody” more user-friendly by eliminating the labels which carried an implied stigma. The “custodial” parent was generally deemed to be the winner, and the parent who only got “visitation” was deemed to be the loser.
The legislature didn’t want children viewed as property to be awarded to one parent over the other. Thus, Colorado created new statutes regarding the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, or “APR”. In an APR case, the courts must determine two aspects regarding minor children. The courts must award decision making responsibilities and parenting time between the parents.
Decision making refers to the right to make major decisions concerning children such as where they go to school, what religion they will be raised, non-emergency medical decisions and extracurricular activities. Colorado law refers to this as “decision-making responsibilities.”
The court can award either joint decision making or sole decision making. With joint decision making both parents jointly make major decisions. With sole decision making, only one parent may make decisions. The types of decisions that parents are able to make can also be divided between the parents. For instance, the court may decide that educational decisions must be made jointly, but one of the parents has control over religious decisions.
Parenting time pertains to the time each parent has actual physical control of the child. Parenting time encompasses the following arrangements:
- Which parent the child primarily lives
- Whether the child splits time between both parents, equally
- Which parent takes the child to school
- Which parent takes the child to his or her sporting events
- Which parent takes the child to the doctor
Parenting time is allocated separately than decision-making responsibilities, although if a parent has sole decision-making authority, it is very likely that the child will spend more time with that parent.
Barring factors like child abuse or domestic violence, each parent will generally be entitled to a reasonable amount of parenting time. What constitutes “reasonable” depends on the facts of your case. The amount of overnights is a factor in the determination of child support.
During APR proceedings, the court may make a temporary order to allocate decision making and parenting time, after which it will enter a permanent order.
Child’s Best Interest
When entering orders concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities the judge is required to consider the child’s “best interests.” Generally, it is in the child’s best interests for the child to spend some time with each parent.
Judges must consider all “relevant factors” when allocating parenting time. As set forth under C.R.S. §14-10-124, those factors include:
- The wishes of the child’s parents as to parenting time;
- The wishes of the child if he or she is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability alone shall not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time;
- The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party; except that, if the court determines that a party is acting to protect the child from witnessing domestic violence or from being a victim of child abuse or neglect or domestic violence, the party’s protective actions shall not be considered with respect to this factor;
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support;
- The physical proximity of the parties to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of parenting time.
When making a determination, the court is likely to favor consistency. For instance, if parents in Denver are divorcing and the father plans to move to Boulder and the mother plans to stay in the same home in Denver, where the child could attend the same school he has attended, the judge may be likely to award the mother parenting time on weekdays during the school year.
Advance Planning- Become and stay involved.
When it comes to children judges try to cause as little disruption as possible to their lives and schedules. If you are a father and you know divorce is in the works, there are some things you can do to make it more likely that you will have equal time with your children and have joint decision making:.
- Get involved in your child’s life and their day-to-day routines.
- Take your child to or pick them up from school or day care.
- Get to know the teachers or day care providers.
- Volunteer in the classroom.
- Go to all parent teacher conferences.
- Go to school functions such as class parties, field trips, performances.
- Go to sporting or extracurricular events. Volunteer. Become a coach or parent helper.
- Take your child to doctor and dental appointments.
- Help your child with their homework.
- Cook, shop, and do laundry.
- Get your child ready for school, or ready for bed.
If your schedule is such that you travel or work long hours and cannot participate in the aforementioned activities, do what you can. The courts have come a long way, and recognize that as the primary breadwinner, a lot of fathers are physically unable to participate as much as they would like.
Participate as much as you can. If you can’t be physically present, call the teachers, daycare providers and coaches. Stay in touch online or via email. Do homework with your kid or read them bedtime stories over the phone. Use Skype so that your child can see you when you talk to them.
Technology has made it possible to stay involved even if you are thousands of miles away. Use it!
If separating, to the extent possible, do not leave the primary residence unless and until you have a written and signed agreement which has been filed with the court and made a court order outlining a temporary parenting arrangement. If you leave the house without an agreement, you leave at your own peril. If the mother withholds your child, absent physically showing up and taking the child which could likely result in her calling the police and your arrest, you have no protection.
Make sure that when the judge is weighing consistency and the child’s best interests, you are the superior option.
Of course, it is of extraordinary importance to have an aggressive attorney on your side that understands the legal issues fathers face and who will fight for you to have equal care regarding your kids.
Child support is established pursuant to the Colorado Child Support Guidelines. Child support is a fixed monthly amount. Child support is determined based on a number of criteria, including the following:
- Colorado Child Support Guidelines
- Both parties’ gross incomes
- Maintenance paid to the ex-spouse
- Cost of health insurance for the child
- Number of overnights each party has with the child
- Other costs, which may also affect the amount of child support, including private education, day care, sports, extraordinary medical costs and extracurricular activities.
If you have physical care of the child for 93 or more overnights per year, child support is calculated using a different worksheet which factors in a credit reducing the amount of child support.
Fighting for a Father’s Right to His Children
If you are a father facing critical parental responsibilities (formerly known as a custody battle), you can have an aggressive, experienced Colorado parental responsibilities (custody) lawyer fighting for you.
Sharon Liko is a men’s rights attorney who represents fathers seeking rightful parental responsibilities of their sons and daughters. A skilled representative in Colorado courts can make the difference between whether you’re the one tucking your kids in at night or the one who sees them once a month or less. Call today at to set up a consultation.