Are you a non-custodial parent? If you were divorced in Colorado and a Colorado court ordered your custody arrangement, you might find this state an excellent place to call home. Colorado emphasizes frequent, ongoing and meaningful contact between a child and both parents.
Colorado courts strongly favor divorced parents sharing equally as possible in a child’s custody. To prevent one parent from making most of the major choices in a child’s life, parents usually share legal custody or decision-making responsibilities. The result is that although minor everyday decisions are made by whichever parent a child is with at the time, parents are motivated to talk to each other. They are encouraged to discuss choices on a child’s schooling, health care, religion and general welfare. Custody aside, both parents are also granted complete access to a child’s medical records, school records, and other essential documents.
Colorado courts are rather beneficent when scheduling parenting time. Overnight parenting time might be restricted for the non-custodial parent, however, if the child attends school near the other parent or is below 2 ½ years of age, judges will likely allow extra hours during the day. That’s not true if there’s a history of neglect or abuse in the family. In that case, the “best interest of the child” principle automatically takes effect.
Colorado’s statutes dictate that a child’s primary custodian cannot alone make decisions on where the child resides. No parent may take the child from Colorado without agreement from the family law judge or from the other parent. If you contest the relocation, your ex-spouse must petition the court for approval. Relocation not only refers to moving your child out of state, but also to anywhere with a travel time of 45 minutes or more to get to the other parent.
Colorado courts feel strongly about parenting time. If your ex-spouse constantly hinders your parenting time and you are can’t see your child according to the assigned schedule, you may choose to file a motion to compel parenting time. A judge may grant you extra time with your child to make up for any hours or days you’ve lost, and may possibly even make your ex-spouse pay your attorney’s fees or court costs. If your ex-spouse repeatedly ignores parenting time terms in your decree, then you may decide to petition for contempt of court.