Proposed Colorado Bill Would Give Equal Parenting Time For Divorced Couples

Daniel Noffsinger - Thursday, June 25, 2015

A bill has recently been introduced in the Colorado General Assembly that would significantly impact the parental rights of individuals going through a divorce. The bill, if passed, would place divorced parents on equal grounds with respect to determining parental rights in children. The purpose of the bill is to emphasize the fundamental liberty interest of both parents and children in maintaining the parent-child relationship.

Colorado Senate Bill 15-129 would change the standards and procedures used in domestic relations cases for issues relating to the parent-child relationship. Specifically, a court would be required to order substantially equal allocation of parenting time in domestic relations cases. Furthermore, the court would be required to award mutual decision-making responsibilities with respect to the child unless the court finds that such an order is clearly not in the child's best interest. There, however, would be an exception when such an order would endanger the child's physical health or impair his or her mental development.

The bill would also create an exception to the current two-year waiting period for modifications to parenting time. The bill would allow “moderate modification to a parenting plan that changes the party with whom the child resides a majority of the time when the existing plan awarded substantially equal parenting time to both parents.”

Not Everyone Is In Favor of the New Bill

At first glance, one may think that the bill would be met with favorable remarks because of the bill’s intended purpose: to place parental rights on equal footing. There are, however, some groups that have come out against the bill. The Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence has been trying to convince lawmakers to oppose the bill.

The Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence believes that the bill will “muddy the waters” and the bill will “make it confusing for court professionals and attorneys to understand the best interest of the child standard.” In an online article recently addressing the bill, one opponent has urged lawmakers to vote against the bill because she believes that it would “force these children to spend more time with a possible abuser.”

If passed, the bill would take effect on September 1, 2015. The bill was first introduce in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Committee on Judiciary on January 28, 2015. Since then, the bill has made its way through the Senate and to the House for assignment and consideration. Most recently, on April 16, the bill was postponed in the House Committee on Judiciary.

Contact a Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney

If you have questions regarding parental rights during a divorce proceedings, a Colorado Springs divorce attorney can answer your questions. A Colorado Springs family law attorney at Noffsinger Law can help you understand your legal rights during a divorce proceeding and protect your parental rights. Noffsinger Law provides legal services in a variety of family law matters, including paternity disputes, parental rights, adoptions, and divorces.

Contact a Colorado Springs divorce attorney today for a free initial consultation. Call us at 719.247.1923 or visit our office at 455 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Suite 103 in Colorado Springs.