Decision-Making Authority

In Colorado, decision-making abilities for parents refer to the authority and responsibility to make important decisions on behalf of their child regarding various aspects of their upbringing. Decision-making authority is often shared between parents, unless circumstances exist that would make sole decision-making by one parent more appropriate in the best interests of the child.

Colorado recognizes two main types of decision-making authority:

Joint Decision-Making:

Joint decision-making means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in making important decisions for the child. This includes decisions related to education, healthcare, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, and other significant aspects of the child’s life. The parents are expected to collaborate, communicate, and make these decisions together, taking into account the child’s best interests.

Sole Decision-Making:

In some cases, the court may determine that it is in the child’s best interests for one parent to have sole decision-making authority. This means that one parent has the exclusive right to make major decisions for the child without consulting the other parent. Sole decision-making may be granted if there are concerns about the other parent’s ability to make responsible and appropriate decisions or if there is a history of domestic violence, abuse, neglect, or other significant factors that could harm the child’s well-being.

When determining decision-making authority, Colorado courts consider various factors, including:

The child’s best interests:

The court assesses what decision-making arrangement would promote the child’s overall welfare, safety, and well-being.

Parental abilities and cooperation:

The court evaluates the ability of each parent to make sound decisions in the child’s best interests and their willingness to collaborate and communicate effectively with the other parent.

Prior involvement:

The court considers the level of each parent’s prior involvement in the child’s life, including their historical decision-making roles and responsibilities.

Parent-child relationship:

The court takes into account the quality and nature of the relationship between each parent and the child and how decision-making authority may impact that relationship.

Child’s preferences:

If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, the court may consider their preferences regarding decision-making authority, although the weight given to their wishes will depend on their age and ability to understand the situation.

Colorado encourages parents to create a parenting plan that outlines decision-making authority and responsibilities. If the parents are unable to agree, the court will make a determination based on the child’s best interests.

It’s important to consult with an attorney or legal professional specializing in family law in Colorado for specific guidance and information regarding decision-making abilities for parents, as laws and guidelines may vary and evolve over time.

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