In Denver, the courts use the term "parental responsibilities," instead of "custody." "Parental responsibilities" covers parenting time and decision-making responsibilities involving children. Deciding the amount of time the child will spend with each parent as well as deciding who will be responsible for making legal decisions for the child is known as "allocation of parental responsibilities."
Denver courts use the term "parenting time," rather than visitation. It is the division of time your child spends with you and your ex-spouse. Generally, one parent is assigned parenting time by the court, while the other parent is designated the "primary care parent." The "primary care parent" is the one with whom the child spends most of their time.
If you and your ex-spouse are in full agreement regarding parental responsibilities, you may be able to file the case together. However, if there are points of disagreement, as normally is the case, you may seek the assistance of a Colorado family law attorney experienced in these matters. They can help you file the Petition For Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. Your ex-spouse will be named as the Respondent. They will then have the opportunity to state in writing their agreement or disagreement with what you have submitted.
A parenting plan is something else that Denver courts require. It includes all of the important issues in your case and lays out who will have parenting time and decision-making responsibilities, as ordered by the court. If you and your spouse agree on all the critical issues, you may decide to file a joint parenting plan. Still, it is crucial that you understand the plan and that you ensure it reflects you and your ex-spouse's wishes regarding the child.
However, if you and your ex-spouse don't see eye to eye on these important matters, you may decide to file a separate parenting plan. In these cases, the court has some leeway. It may file a plan of its own, for example. This plan could be the one filed by either of you, or it could be unique.
When there are still unresolved issues, a judge will consider all of the documents that have been filed thus far. Afterward, they may submit an order to award allocation of parental responsibilities. This order may also include child support as well as other issues. If one of you does not have a lawyer, there may be a brief hearing. In these cases, the best interests of the child is weighed most heavily by the judge when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. As child custody cases are complicated, it is best to work with an experienced Colorado family law attorney.