Often times clients will ask “How is a judge going to decide parenting time? What is parenting time?” Parenting time is established by a statute called the Best Interests Statute. It’s Colorado revised statute 14-10-124. If you take a look at the statute it’s got different parts to it. The first part you’ll see is a section that deals with decision making and that’s important for you to understand. If there’s been domestic violence in the relationship that can be established because if domestic violence has been established against one of the parents, then decision making will be awarded to the parent who is not the perpetrator of domestic violence.
The other way that parenting orders are entered is when the court considers all of the factors in the best interests statute and that would include parenting time, holidays and how the child is picked up and dropped off for parenting time and when that is to occur. A typical custody case involving either a divorce, a legal separation or an allocation of parental responsibilities is going to require the parties, the lawyers to get together. Go over the best interests statute and determine what kind of a parenting plan is fair to the children in the case.
It’s not something that’s fair to the parents, but it’s in the best interests of the children. It’s also not based upon fitness of parents, although that issue certainly is relevant for the court and an example of that is whether either parent has a mental illness or an emotional illness that may affect parenting or something like substance abuse or alcohol use, which is a factor in what the court does for parenting time.
Contact Shayne Law if you have any questions.