What Is The Most Common Visitation Schedule In Colorado?

June 30, 2021

Have you recently gone through a divorce or are you in a custody matter that requires a parenting time schedule? Our family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help. While parenting time schedules are unique to each situation, we can guide you on Colorado law and how to put in place a parenting time schedule in Colorado that not only complies with the law but also works for you and your children. Contact us today by phone at (720) 463-4333 or text to chat at (720) 730-4558.

What Is Required in Parenting Time Schedules in Colorado?

In Colorado, the standard in determining a parenting time schedule is the “best interest of the child standard.” This is a set of nine factors set out in Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14. While there is a standard that any parenting schedule must meet, there is no typical or most common parenting plan, as each family’s situation is different.

The best interest of the child standard requires the court to consider the following factors when deciding whether to approve a parenting time schedule:

  • The parents’ desires regarding the parenting time schedule.
  • The child’s desires regarding the parenting time schedule (provided they are old enough to express such desires).
  • The relationships between the child and any other family members, including parents, siblings, or otherwise, and which could affect the child’s best interests.
  • The child’s home, community, and school situation.
  • Mental and physical health of those who would be caring for the child (a disability alone cannot restrict parenting time).
  • The ability of the parents to encourage the sharing of love among other parties who may care for the child.
  • Past involvement of parents and others who may care for the child and whether it represents that the child is valued and that they are willing to make time for the child.
  • Physical proximity to one another.
  • The ability of each person to place the needs of the child above their own.

Before Establishing a Parenting Time Schedule

The state of Colorado has provided a robust resource on parenting time in Colorado called Connecting with Your Kids. The resource provides background on important Colorado laws, guidance on parenting time schedules, and other situations like introducing a new partner to a child, arranging a child’s moves from one home to another, and communication, among other items.

As much as possible, this resource encourages parents to decide on parenting time with children’s developmental needs in mind and to consider the following as you are creating your plan:

  • Agree on how much time each person can spend parenting.
  • Determine what each parent needs to do.
  • Be honest about existing relationships with children and focus on quality parenting time over quantity where possible.
  • Consider logistics and how transitions will occur.
  • Discuss potential costs related to parenting time and how those will be taken care of.
  • Discuss how new friends or partners may be introduced to the child during parenting time.

Things To Consider for Younger Children

With infants, there is no one parenting model that works. Our experienced family law attorneys at the Johnson Law Group can advise on potential parenting time schedules in Colorado based on your unique situation. We will help you consider things like the following:

  • Which parent is available to provide care based on work or other schedules?
  • Where will the infant be most secure and stable?
  • Does the parenting time schedule allow the child(ren) to develop bonds with each parent?

When children are young, it is often thought that they will need lots of contact and time with both parents to establish secure bonds, even in an environment of instability due to a custody matter or divorce.

According to Connecting with Your Kids, children aged 0-12 months should receive care in as consistent a manner as possible. Parenting time ideally would be comprised of short and frequent visits.

Children aged 12 months to 3 years will need reliability, and a consistent amount of time with each parent if possible.  The focus for this age range is the frequency of visits in a parenting time schedule.

From pre-school to age five, the focus shifts to routine. At this point, you can safely build in overnight and weekend trips as they should be able to handle transitions in a relatively healthy manner.

Things to Consider for Older Children

As your children get older, you may want to consider a plan that splits time fifty-fifty between both parents. This allows each parent to share equal time with the children as they grow up.

From ages 6-8 years children will require regular and frequent parenting time. Agreement on how and when to discipline as well as communication between parents is key.

From age 9 to age 12 the child is starting to create their world within these schedules. Parents should focus on flexibility for children to spend time with other friends but should also have regular parenting time schedules.

Once a child is thirteen years of age (adolescence), they will need both parents in different ways. At this age a child may be brought into the discussion of how and where parenting time is scheduled. Teenagers will need time with both parents and time on their own.

Increasing Parenting Time Schedules

If you are in a situation where a child is not as closely bonded with one parent as with another, or where a child may simply need more time to get acquainted with a new schedule or routine, you may want to consider a parenting time schedule that increases over time.

Another situation where this may be applicable is in the event that one parent needs additional parenting or coaching classes related to childcare. In this case, the parent could attend classes and gain new skills and over time assume more and more responsibility related to the child with a slowly increasing parenting time schedule.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys Today

Ultimately, there is no parenting time schedule that is most common as each is built for specific needs and circumstances. You will want to closely consider who will be spending time with your child, and who will be responsible for caring for them before you finalize a parenting time schedule in Colorado. Our attorneys can help guide you in the formation of a parenting time schedule that provides stability for the child(ren) while also maximizing time with loved ones. Contact the Johnson Law Group by phone at (720) 463-4333 or text to chat at (720) 730-4558 for a free consultation today.

Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
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