When two parents are divorcing, custody and other parenting issues are addressed during the divorce process. However, when two parents have never been married but have a child or children together, they may still need legal assistance to help determine custody orders. Fortunately, this can be accomplished through an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities case.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (APR) is comprised of two main components—parenting time and decision-making, which collectively were formerly called custody. When considering parenting time and decision-making, Colorado law provides that the “best interests of the child” standard applies. This means that each case and each child must be looked at individually, with the focus always being on what is best for each child. Colorado law provides some guidance in the form of factors that must be considered in each case, such as the wishes of the parents; the wishes of the child (if mature enough to express those wishes); the child’s adjustment to his home, school or community; the ability of each parent to put the child’s needs above his or her own; the physical proximity of the parties, etc.
Anytime custody decisions are being made for a child, it is critical that both parents remain focused on the best interests of their child. When a relationship is ending and you may feel anger, sadness, and anxiety, it can be difficult to envision how you will co-parent with your ex. Laura Monty Law, LLC understands how difficult that transition can be, especially when two parents are pitted against each other in a litigation matter. That is just one of the reasons why we offer alternative family law services, such as mediation and collaborative law. When parents are able to sit down and jointly make decisions regarding parenting time and decision-making for their children at the time of a break-up, they significantly increase their chances of being successful co-parents in the future.
Just as it sounds, parenting time refers to the schedule of when the child will be in the care of each parent. There are many different types of parenting time arrangements, and each has pros and cons. However, the goal is to create a parenting time schedule that works best for the child, keeping in mind that this may change over time as the child grows and matures.
Decision-making refers to who will make the major decisions for the child in the areas of education, extra-curricular activities, religion, and major medical/dental/mental health. Parents may share joint decision-making responsibility in some or all of the four major areas. There are also times where it is best for one parent to be allocated sole decision-making in some or all of the areas.
Regardless of who makes the major decisions for a child, day-to-day decisions, such as curfew, bedtime, diets, etc. are generally made by the parent that the child is with for parenting time without the need to confer with the other parent first.
Whether it is your goal to resolve parenting issues through mediation or collaborative law, or if you believe that court is inevitable, Laura Monty Law, LLC is available to assist you. Please contact us at 970-797-3407 or through our online Contact Us form to set up an initial consultation with Ms. Monty.