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What are the major factors in determining parenting time?

Parenting time is an important aspect of all divorce cases involving children. Colorado law accepts that in most cases the best interests of the child are served when there is contact between the child and both parents. As a result, the court will in most cases attempt to create an agreement that maximizes this contact. In all decisions regarding parenting time, the best interests of the child and the child's personal desires are held in paramount importance.

Custody and parenting time are closely related. Parenting time is considered the quality time that a parent spends with their child. A parent with primary physical custody will be considered to have the most parenting time. Visitation with the non-custodial parent counts as that parent's parenting time. The parent's ability to provide for the child's physical, emotional and social wellbeing is a major factor in determining parenting time. The parent that shows a superior ability to provide for the child will likely be granted the majority of parenting time.

The non-custodial parent will still be entitled to a certain amount of parenting time so long as it is considered to be in the child's best interest. The exact amount of parenting time is determined by a variety of factors including statutes, the physical distance between the two parents and the ability of the non-custodial parent to provide consistent care. Once an agreement is made, the non-custodial parent has a right to the visitation. The custodial parent has the legal obligation to make the child available at the agreed upon times and cannot relocate the child in a way that would disrupt contact without the court's permission.

Determining child custody and parenting time after divorce is a complicated legal process. A parent may benefit from an attorney's assistance in understanding their rights. An attorney can also assist a parent in presenting their case before a judge at a custody or relocation hearing.

Source: Women's Law, "§ 14-10-129. Modification of parenting time", December 30, 2014

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