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Parental Rights in Colorado

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This article describes the meaning of Colorado Parental Rights and how they must be subject to the child's best interests. It also explains the various factors that Colorado Family Law Courts take into consideration while determining Parental Rights.

Scope of Parental Rights in Colorado Springs

Recently, Courts in Colorado have been subject to a new paradigm shift with regard to Parental Rights. In cases where the parents of the child are separated, there is often dispute between the parents as to which one has the greater right over the child.

The new belief is that Parents have no "Rights" as such over the Child. If there is anyone who has any rights in the matter, it is the child. Parents now have what is called "Parental Responsibilities" and to achieve this, they need to have "Parental Time".

Due to Parental Responsibilities, parents are required to share what is called "Decision Making Responsibility". This means that with each area that concerns the child, the responsibility for taking decisions with respect to that field must go to one or the other parent.

Sharing Parental Rights

Courts are of the opinion that it is the best interests of the child to have continuing contact with both parents. They have also determined that communications between the parents is good for the child concerned.

In fact, when determining the allocation of Decision Making Responsibility, courts take into account the ability of the separated parents to cooperate with each other.

The amount of Parenting Time to be given to each Child Depends on Several Factors. Some of the variables taken into consideration by the Court are:

1. The age of the Child in question.
2. The Wishes of the Child
3. How well the Child has adjusted to his or her environment
4. The health of the Parents. It is important to note however, that simple disability is never grounds for less parenting time.
5. Whether a particular parent is likely to try and alienate the other
6. The history the child has with each parent, and the level of past support and dedication that a parent has shown to the child.

As you can see, the entire focus is on the Child's best interests, and in cases involving negotiating Parenting time, it is crucial that you do not put forward your own interests in the matter. Courts in Colorado are extremely intolerant of cases where the parent has selfish reasons to gain parenting time.

While Sharing Decision Making Responsibilities, courts have another set of criteria. Some of them are:

1. Empirical Evidence that the parents can Co operate with each other
2. Whether joint Responsibility will foster an atmosphere of frequent contact between the child and both parents.

In cases where one of the parents have been convicted of Spousal Abuse, then courts do not favor mutual decision making by the parents unless it is determined that such sharing need not involve physical contact.

Coming to an Agreement

Courts in Colorado like to allow both parties to come up with their own parenting plan rather than imposing their own. It will allow both parents a first shot at creating a plan that both are amenable to.

In case the parents are not able to co operate in this, or the court find their plan unsatisfactory, it will make one of it's own. In addition, the court may require professional mediation between the parents in either making or implementing the plan.
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