Scott Baroway Mediation Partners Parental Responsibilities
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“Legal Custody” – Abolished in Colorado Now -Parental Responsibilities (joint responsibility to be a parent) 3
Parental Responsibilities C.R.S Instead of “Custody”, Colorado recognizes “Parental Responsibilities” Intended to eliminate the sense of ownership of children by a parent Focus parents on their ongoing responsibilities to their children Separate issues: Parenting Time Decision Making Responsibilities RETURN TO “ALL ABOUT” SERIES SLIDE
Issues To Be Decided 5 Parenting Plan (2 core separate areas) Parenting Time - Time spent with each parent Decision Making - authority on various issues Practical Details Flexibility
Parenting Plan Check List 6 Who makes issue decisions Where is child’s primary residence Schedule When is child at Mom’s house/Dad’s house Holidays With which parent Vacations When are the “vacations” with each parent Transportation Who drives when/where Health Who decides/makes/takes for appointments Schooling Who decides/take part in placement/activities Communication Who contacts whom, when Emergencies What are the back-up plans Extended families How are they part of the child’s life Other issues unique to the situation
Parenting Time 7 How much time do the children spend with each parent Does it fit within the parents lifestyle What is today’s plan When does the plan change Periodic reviews Existing plan not working
Practical Issues 8 Details—why they are important Avoid future conflicts Provide consistency and sense of security for children Provides a schedule for parents and children to organize their lives around. Even children need to know their “schedule.” Flexibility Children’s needs change over time Parent’s needs change over time
Ages And Stages: Different schedule needs 9 Preschoolers Comfort and consistency Frequent contact with each parent School-age children Schedules and predictability Independent school, recreational, and social commitments Teenagers Support and supervision Lives become centered on their peers, not the family
Houses And Rules— Same, Similar Or Different? 10 Rules Same rules—easiest for the children Similar rules—can work Different rules—may cause problems, if parents let it by openly failing to respect others’ house rules. Two houses can operate differently but Try to agree on major rules Don’t let children manipulate you Ask other parent only if children report something worrisome Two houses requires extra courtesies Parents need to communicate openly and frequently
Special Children—Special Needs 11 Children with talents or limitations may need special services Who will make the decisions about special programs and treatment? How will the decisions be made? How will they receive the services they need?
Parenting Time Statutory Factors-(page 1) 12 Desires of Parents Desire of Child IF “sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences” Interactions and interrelationships of the child with his parents, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community Mental and physical health of each Disability alone will not be basis to deny or restrict time Ability of each to encourage love, affection, and contact with other party Past pattern of parties to reflect system of values, time commitment, and mutual support
Parenting Time – Statutory Factors (page 2) 13 Physical proximity to each other as it relates to practical considerations Ability of each party place needs of child ahead of their personal needs Is one party perpetrator of abuse or neglect supported by credible evidence? Is one a perpetrator of spousal abuse supported by credible evidence?
Parenting Time Statutory Excluded Factors (cannot consider) 14 Cannot Consider a parties conduct that does not affect parties relationship with child. No presumption that any person is better able to serve as parent due to gender. No prejudice to the fact that a party requested genetic testing. If party leaves due to abuse, such absence shall not be a factor.
Decision Making 15 Second part of Parental Responsibility Plan NOT SAME AS PARENTING TIME
Decision Making Statutory Factors – (page 1) 16 Credible evidence of ability of parties to cooperate and make joint decisions Past pattern of involvement reflecting ability as mutual decision makers to provide positive and nourishing relationship with child Whether allocation of mutual responsibility on one or more issues will promote frequent contact with both parties and child One party perpetrator of abuse or neglect supported by credible evidence IF SO – it SHALL NOT be in best interest to have mutual decision making on any issue over objection of other party
Decision Making Statutory Factors – (page 2) 17 Perpetrator of spousal abuse IF SO – it SHALL NOT be in best interest to have mutual decision making on any issue over objection of other party…unless (court finding)
Additional Issues 18 Are parents capable and open to hear and understand children’s wishes
Emergency Medical Treatment (C.R.S (6)) 19 Decision Making authority rests with BOTH by statute without it being a violation of an order to the contrary.
PARENTING PLAN 20 Written document provides the default or baseline for all parties to follow. Parents may modify by agreement of both parties anytime. Provides framework to plan life around for both the parents and the children.
Parenting Plan Contents 21 Decision Making Primary Residence Schools Religion Medical providers Regular parenting time Holidays Vacations Transportation Terms and conditions for making up parenting time Provisions concerning conflict in schedule Parenting time exchanges Extracurricular activities Future dispute resolution Right of first refusal – if other busy Telephone/ correspondence contact Emergencies Modifications as young kids get older Communication about events Provision for parenting time of each child