Have you recently gone through a divorce or are you in a custody matter that requires a parenting time schedule? Our family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help. While parenting time schedules are unique to each situation, we can guide you on Colorado law and how to put in place a parenting time schedule in Colorado that not only complies with the law but also works for you and your children. Contact us today by phone at (720) 463-4333 or text to chat at (720) 730-4558.
In Colorado, the standard in determining a parenting time schedule is the “best interest of the child standard.” This is a set of nine factors set out in Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14. While there is a standard that any parenting schedule must meet, there is no typical or most common parenting plan, as each family’s situation is different.
The best interest of the child standard requires the court to consider the following factors when deciding whether to approve a parenting time schedule:
The state of Colorado has provided a robust resource on parenting time in Colorado called Connecting with Your Kids. The resource provides background on important Colorado laws, guidance on parenting time schedules, and other situations like introducing a new partner to a child, arranging a child’s moves from one home to another, and communication, among other items.
As much as possible, this resource encourages parents to decide on parenting time with children’s developmental needs in mind and to consider the following as you are creating your plan:
With infants, there is no one parenting model that works. Our experienced family law attorneys at the Johnson Law Group can advise on potential parenting time schedules in Colorado based on your unique situation. We will help you consider things like the following:
When children are young, it is often thought that they will need lots of contact and time with both parents to establish secure bonds, even in an environment of instability due to a custody matter or divorce.
According to Connecting with Your Kids, children aged 0-12 months should receive care in as consistent a manner as possible. Parenting time ideally would be comprised of short and frequent visits.
Children aged 12 months to 3 years will need reliability, and a consistent amount of time with each parent if possible. The focus for this age range is the frequency of visits in a parenting time schedule.
From pre-school to age five, the focus shifts to routine. At this point, you can safely build in overnight and weekend trips as they should be able to handle transitions in a relatively healthy manner.
As your children get older, you may want to consider a plan that splits time fifty-fifty between both parents. This allows each parent to share equal time with the children as they grow up.
From ages 6-8 years children will require regular and frequent parenting time. Agreement on how and when to discipline as well as communication between parents is key.
From age 9 to age 12 the child is starting to create their world within these schedules. Parents should focus on flexibility for children to spend time with other friends but should also have regular parenting time schedules.
Once a child is thirteen years of age (adolescence), they will need both parents in different ways. At this age a child may be brought into the discussion of how and where parenting time is scheduled. Teenagers will need time with both parents and time on their own.
If you are in a situation where a child is not as closely bonded with one parent as with another, or where a child may simply need more time to get acquainted with a new schedule or routine, you may want to consider a parenting time schedule that increases over time.
Another situation where this may be applicable is in the event that one parent needs additional parenting or coaching classes related to childcare. In this case, the parent could attend classes and gain new skills and over time assume more and more responsibility related to the child with a slowly increasing parenting time schedule.
Ultimately, there is no parenting time schedule that is most common as each is built for specific needs and circumstances. You will want to closely consider who will be spending time with your child, and who will be responsible for caring for them before you finalize a parenting time schedule in Colorado. Our attorneys can help guide you in the formation of a parenting time schedule that provides stability for the child(ren) while also maximizing time with loved ones. Contact the Johnson Law Group by phone at (720) 463-4333 or text to chat at (720) 730-4558 for a free consultation today.