Colorado is currently one of two “un-custody” states in the United States. Instead of deciding “custody” of minor children, Colorado courts decide “parental responsibility” orders that determine how decisions are made for children and what parenting time each parent will have. Colorado has liberal rules that allow more than biological parents to seek parental responsibility orders. Same sex couples, grandparents, and in some cases psychological parents and step parents are able to assert tights in cases involving children.
Initial parental responsibility determinations are made on the basis of best interests of the child. Colorado has a long history of being in the forefront of using the latest research regarding children of divorce to craft comprehensive parental responsibility decisions that are tailored to meet the best interest needs of the children in each particular case. Often, forensic experts are retained to investigate and make recommendations to the courts. Multi-disciplinary professional organizations such as the Boulder IDC and Metro Denver IDC, allow lawyers, mental health professionals and mediators to share ideas and improve the decision-making process in the courts.
Our firm was involved with the Boulder IDC from the beginning in the early 1980s and was the leader in founding the Colorado State IDC in 1999. We helped create the mediation/ arbitration model of dispute resolution now incorporated into the statute. The problems associated with managing high conflict families, so as to protect children, defy easy solution. However, over the years, we have developed sophisticated solutions that, in many cases, help the parties manage that conflict and avoid the chronic cycle of constantly returning to court to resolve each new dispute.