While most states consider child custody to be all inclusive, Colorado has divided parental responsibilities, also called Allocation of Parental Responsibility and parenting time into two distinct aspects. Decision making deals with how major decisions regarding a minor child will be made.
The allocation of parental responsibilities can be awarded to one parent solely or both parties jointly, depending on the particular facts and circumstances of each individual case. The manner in which decision making is allocated is not always directly related to the amount of parenting time each parent spends with the child.
There is a presumption in the law toward “joint decision making.” This presumption can be overcome by factors such as domestic violence. The court will apply the best interest of the children standard when parties cannot agree on joint decision making. Courts may also split decision making responsibility by awarding certain decisions to each parent.
The parental responsibilities that are most commonly allocated are education, religion, and medical/dental welfare. However, many other parental responsibilities may be allocated between the parents. Day to day decisions such as hygiene, play dates and discipline are most commonly determined by the parent who is physically caring for the child at the time of the decision.