Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

In Colorado, the process for allocating parental responsibilities, formerly known as child custody, involves several steps. The goal of the process is to determine the allocation of decision-making responsibilities and parenting time between parents or other individuals involved in the child’s life. Filing a case for allocation of parental responsibilities generally only occurs when the parents of the child were not married.  If the parents were married, then the couple would handle issues of parenting through a traditional divorce.  Here is an overview of the process:


The process typically begins with one parent filing a petition for allocation of parental responsibilities with the appropriate court. This petition outlines the desired allocation of decision-making responsibilities and parenting time.

Notice and Response:

After filing the petition, the other parent or involved party is served with a copy of the petition and other relevant documents. They have a specific timeframe to respond to the petition, typically within 21 days.

Parenting Class:

Both parents may be required to attend a parenting education class. This class aims to provide information and guidance on co-parenting and the impact of divorce or separation on children.


In most cases, the court will order the parents to attend mediation to try and reach an agreement on parental responsibilities and parenting time. Mediation involves meeting with a neutral third-party mediator who assists the parents in finding common ground and developing a parenting plan.

Parenting Plan:

If the parents reach an agreement through mediation, they will create a parenting plan that outlines the allocation of decision-making responsibilities, parenting time schedules, and other important provisions regarding the child’s well-being.

Court Hearing:

If the parents are unable to reach an agreement through mediation or if there are significant disputes, a court hearing will be scheduled. Each parent will present their case, and the judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Best Interests of the Child:

The court’s primary consideration in allocating parental responsibilities is the best interests of the child. Factors that may be taken into account include the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to cooperate and make decisions together, the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

Court Order:

If the court determines the allocation of parental responsibilities, it will issue a court order detailing the decision. The court order may address decision-making authority, parenting time schedules, child support, and other relevant matters.

It’s important to note that the allocation of parental responsibilities process in Colorado may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the court involved. It’s recommended to consult with a family law attorney or refer to the Colorado Revised Statutes for detailed information on the process.

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