I am a child of the 1980s who grew up with divorced parents. Most of my friends also had divorced parents. My childhood consisted of lots of traveling between my parents’ homes, and I am well versed in the every-other-weekend model that was most common at that.
My family is a blended family, and boy do I mean a blended family! I had a half-brother and two separate sets of step-siblings. While we all came from different families, one thing that we all had in common was that we spent every-other-weekend with our dads.
Colorado courts and statutes today are much more progressive when it comes to developing parenting schedules. First, in Colorado, we do not use the term “custody” anymore. Instead, “custody” is now defined in Colorado law as the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities is broken into two pieces. The first is decision-making, defining which parent has the ability to make decisions regarding major decisions (medical, education-related, extracurricular, and religious) for the children. This is not automatically decided by gender, but instead is determined by a list of factors that help establish what sort of arrangement is in the best interest of the child. Generally, unless there is a good reason to do so, decision-making is shared between parents.
The second aspect of parental responsibilities is parenting time, i.e. the day-to-day schedule. Today, the Court should not even consider “traditional” gender roles when determining where children should be each day. The Courts base these decisions on a review a variety of factors, with the overall standard being the “best interests” standard.
Parenting time decisions today looks incredibly different than when my parents separated. Fathers and mothers alike are expected to share care-giving responsibilities to whatever capacity the Court believes serves the children’s best interests. Because the Court has to apply factors and look at the facts unique to each case, the resulting parenting plans vary greatly from case-to-case. The every-other-weekend schedule still exists, but the Court has to make specific findings that it serves the children’s best interests. Moreover, the every-other-weekend parent could be either parent, depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you need help determining or negotiating a parenting plan that is in your child’s best interest, the seasoned family law attorneys at Gebhardt Emerson Moodie Bonanno, LLC are here to help. You can schedule your free consultation today by calling 720-443-4892.
Authored by: Sarah Wolter, Esq., Senior Associate Attorney