Colorado courts must the best interest and well-being of children when parenting time issues are at hand. One of the top priorities of the court is to ensure a child has regular contact with both parents, so long as it is safe, in instances when only one parent has custody. This contact is officially known as visitation.
Visitation can create a great deal of turmoil in a divorce proceeding and is one of the most common reasons why the court must intervene in an otherwise peaceful divorce process. In most cases, both parents want what is best for their child, but what this means in terms of time spent together often takes two different forms.
In Colorado, there is both reasonable visitation and fixed visitation. Reasonable visitation occurs when parents work together to determine visitation schedules on their own. This is ideal, but not always possible, in which case fixed visitation is used. Fixed visitation is used by the court when parents are unable to come to terms concerning parenting time and enables the creation of court-created and approved visitation schedule by which both parents must abide.
Even in cases when a child could be at risk, the court considers it ideal for the child to spend time with both parents. If there is evidence of abuse, supervised visitation can be ordered, in which a court official or other appointed third-party individual must be present with either or both parents during visitation.
How Does the Court Determine Visitation with Each Parent?
To make its determination, the court gathers a variety of information to consider. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 14, Article 10, information can be gathered through:
• Private interviews with the child
• Appointment of an attorney to represent the child
• Appointment of a mental health professional to evaluate the child and family
• Appointment of an investigator to interview and research the family
• Testimony of the child’s parents and other witnesses
C.R.S. § 14-10-123.7 also permits the court to require parents to attend parenting classes in an effort to create the best possible visitation arrangement for their children and improve their co-parenting skills.
If you need assistance with visiting issues or scheduling parenting times, or you have questions about custody or another family law matter, contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at 303-773-8100.