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Key considerations relevant to Colorado parenting plans

| Jan 13, 2021 | Child Custody |

No divorce in Colorado is a carbon copy of another. Marital dissolution is a flatly personalized and differentiated experience for participants in every instance.

The bottom line central to divorce underscores this reality: Every family is unique. The divorce process will always be marked by stand-alone concerns requiring tailored legal input spanning a number of variables.

Sometimes marital assets – their identification, valuation and fair distribution – feature prominently in a decoupling. That can especially be the case where a divorcing couple has accumulated significant wealth over the years. Many high-asset divorces are complex matters involving the division of property ranging from multiple realty holdings, stock investments and retirement accounts to a family business, pensions, company-sponsored perks and more.

Financial-support issues are also predominant concerns in many divorces. Child support and spousal maintenance (alimony) are often key focal points in divorce negotiations.

And then there are the kids, of course. Impending exes with children understandably focus intently on the continued protection and well-being of their loved ones.

Child custody and parental responsibility in Colorado

An authoritative Colorado family law source stresses a fundamental point concerning divorces involving children. It duly notes that, “Parenting time and child custody disputes are often the most emotionally challenging part of a divorce.”

That’s not really surprising, is it? Moms and dads might have their differences, but divorces featuring children are usually strongly focused on their best interests.

And that is precisely the standard that guides kid-centric family law outcomes in Colorado. Courts closely scrutinize divorce plans and arrangements involving children from a ‘best interest” perspective, especially in the area of child custody and visitation.

For purposes of clarification, and as noted in the above-cited family law source, courts don’t even refer to custody and visitation these days. Those terms have been supplanted by “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” designations. Those are carefully spelled out in documents called parenting plans.

Colorado parenting plans: some key aspects to note

The Colorado Bar Association provides an in-depth overview of Colorado parenting plans. It centrally notes the “best interests” standard and additionally stresses the significant autonomy that parents have in the first instance (often effectively exercised with input from experienced legal counsel) to craft their own plans. A court might accept a parent-authored plan or, alternatively, craft a plan and enforceable judicial order itself. Here are some additional points to note about parenting plans:

  • Best interests will often consider a number of factors, including a child’s age, development, emotional needs, relative independence and parents’ schedules
  • Presumption that children most often flourish when “both parents continue to have an active role in their lives”
  • Subject matter can touch on issues ranging from child support, parental relocation, medical benefits and child-linked tax matters to schooling, religious instruction, extracurricular activities and more
  • Spelled out process and details regarding conflict resolution if a parental dispute becomes material or intractable

The crafting of a parenting plan can present both challenges and opportunities that invite timely and tailored input from a proven and empathetic family law legal team. Experienced legal counsel can help a divorcing client create an effective plan that optimally promotes the best interests of all involved parties.

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