When speaking about divorce and child custody, it’s only natural to speak of a parent’s “visitation” time with his/her children. In Colorado, however, the term “visitation” was removed from the statutes and replaced with “parenting time,” which refers to how the time with the kids will be divided among the parents. Courts usually refer to the parent who has the children the most as the primary care parent and then creates a visitation agreement that assigns parenting time to the other parent. The details of parenting time are actually very important in a child custody or visitation agreement as they determine whether or not the parent can leave the state, make medical decisions for the children, or be involved in certain aspects of their schooling.
If the parents agree on a parenting plan and present it to the court, it will usually be accepted if it’s typical and straightforward. If parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the judge has to step in, evaluate the information he’s given about both parents, and then decide upon a parenting plan he/she feels is in the best interest of the children.
In the parenting time statute, there is a sentence that clearly expresses the belief of the state of Colorado when it comes to child custody and parenting time: “The general assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interest of all parties to encourage frequent and continuing contact between each parent and the minor children of the marriage after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.” For this reason, judges are adamant about reaching a parenting plan that allows two capable, loving parents the time with their children they need and deserve.