Legal Information: Colorado

Custody

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Updated: 
September 13, 2018

What are some advantages and disadvantages of getting an allocation of parental responsibilities order?

According to Colorado law, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities towards their child(ren) if they were married or if paternity has been established.1   For parents who were not married when the child was born, paternity can be established in multiple ways, such as when the father signs an acknowledgment of paternity or it can be established in court.2  To read the rest of the ways that paternity can be established, go to our CO Statutes page.  The only way to legally change the equal right to make decisions about your child held by both parents is through a court order – usually after one or both parents file for allocation of parental responsibilities.

There are many reasons you might choose not to get an allocation of parental responsibilities order from a judge.  You may decide not to get an order because you don't want to get the courts involved or you may already have an informal agreement with the other parent that works well for you.  You may think that going to court will provoke the other parent to seek more time with your child and more legal rights, which you do not want him/her to have.

However, in some cases, it is a good idea to get an allocation of parental responsibilities order from a judge.  For example, it might make it easier to deal with the other parent because the rights and responsibilities for each parent would be stated clearly in the order.  You will have to make this choice based on your particular situation.  A lawyer might be able to offer you advice about which choice is right for you.  To find a lawyer in your area, please see our CO Finding a Lawyer page.

If you go to court, a judge can give you (or the other parent):

  • The responsibility to make decisions about education, healthcare, religion and other things for your child;
  • A clear schedule listing where the child will live and when the child will have time with the other parent;
  • Clear instructions for how and when the child will be transferred to the other parent and returned to you;
  • An order preventing either parent from moving out of state with the child;
  • The responsibility to make or receive child support payments; and/or
  • The right to call the police or go back to court to enforce the order and hold the other parent in contempt (ask the court to punish the parent) if the other parent does not follow the court order.

1 C.R.S. § 19-4-103
2 C.R.S. § 19-4-105