Parenting time considerations in Colorado courts

You are a good parent, so you may assume that the judge will agree your child should live with you at least half the time and sign an order to that effect. However, being a good parent does not guarantee you will receive the parenting time schedule you want. 

A judge considers the schedules you and the other parent propose, but the courts also evaluate other matters in determining parenting time. 

The child’s safety

Domestic violence and substance abuse are red flags that the court takes seriously. Any current or past allegations are likely to affect parenting time. However, because experts agree that children generally do better with some form of parent-child relationship, the focus will be on making visitation safe rather than denying it altogether. 

The health needs of the child and the ability of each parent to meet those, as well as the mental and physical health of you and the other parent, are also safety matters a judge weighs. 

Family relationships

The relationship between parent and child is important, but so are other relationships in the child’s life. So, for example, a judge may hesitate to sign an order that separates a child from siblings or other family members who he or she regularly spends time with. 

The child’s wishes

A judge may talk to your child about what he or she wants, but this depends on your child’s ability to have a reasonable discussion, among other things. Maturity level matters a great deal in whether your child’s wishes are a factor in the decision. 

Healthy emotional environment

You may want to make the other parent look like a less desirable option or point out his or her failings. This can backfire, though, as judges want to see that parents are able and willing to work together for the benefit of their child. Being able to put your anger aside and encourage your child’s relationship with the other parent reduces conflict, which creates a healthier environment and is likely to impress the judge. 

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