Visitation, referred to in Colorado law as “parenting time”, is the time the child/children spend with the each parent. The judge will determine parenting time as part of the “parental responsibility” (child custody) ruling and takes a number of factors into consideration based on Colorado statutes regulating visitation:
- “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;
- 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;
- Whether one of the parties has been a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect under section 18-6-401, C.R.S., or under the law of any state, which factor shall be supported by credible evidence;
- Whether one of the parties has been a perpetrator of spouse abuse which factor shall be supported by credible evidence;
- The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs. (Colorado Statutes – Article 10 – Sections: 14-20-123, 14-20-124, 14-20-129)”
The state of Colorado acknowledges that positive, ongoing relationships with both parents are important in helping children lead well-adjusted lives. Seeking legal advice will not only assist you in understanding what is best for your children, but also will ensure your rights are protected under the law.
The Colorado legal system has renamed “child custody” as “parental responsibility“, which it divides into two categories:
- Allocation of decision-making responsibility
- Parenting time
The court assigns parental responsibility based on what is best for the child. Parental responsibility encompasses where the child lives, time spent with the child, as well as decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, medical care, and social activities. Both parents may submit a parenting plan or plans for court approval that allocate decision-making responsibility and parenting time. If no parenting plan is submitted, or if the parenting plan submitted is not approved by the court, the court will formulate a parenting plan for the child. Taking into consideration the issues that affect the child, the parenting plan resolves whether to establish joint, split, or sole decision-making responsibilities and also how parenting time is scheduled and divided between parents.
“Visitation” has been renamed “parenting time” by the Colorado legislature and is covered in the Visitation section.