When divorce is necessary, when it is the best choice for you and your children’s future, you need to know your rights and responsibilities. Our free half hour consultation can provide you with information appropriate to your unique situation, giving you directions and options. While divorce is difficult, it does not have to be devastating. We offer both detailed legal advise and common sense support.
Colorado statutes no longer use the term “custody” to refer to court orders regarding children, but rather use the term “parental responsibilities.” Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (“APR” for short) are always part of a Court order in a divorce with children, but is also available to unmarried people with children. (Over 40% of children are born to unmarried parents.) An APR order is particularly important for unmarried fathers, as it confirms a father’s right to have parenting time with children and make decisions for children. Either parent can file for APR, which establishes parenting time, decision-making and child support for the children.
Child support is a statutory calculation based on each parent’s actual or imputed income, expenses for the child such as health insurance or work-related child care paid by either parent, and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Child support is considered to be a “right” of the child, and is waived or modified from the statutory amount only when the court has good reason to do so. Child support can be enforced by the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) offices in each county even if the payer moves out of state.
As children age and family situations change, it is normal for parents to need to modify either or both parenting time and child support and sometimes decision-making. Modifications can be done by stipulation (i.e. agreement) of the parties or through the motion of one party if the parents can’t agree. Parents often agree informally for changes, but if the stipulation is not filed with the court, it does not become a court-ordered and enforceable change, and only lasts as long as the parents are in agreement. Motions to modify are subject to a filing fee with the court to discourage repeated filings for modification, so agreements should be titled “Stipulation to Modify” which are not subject to a filing fee.
The information provided here is general information and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The facts of your specific situation will determine the accuracy and effectiveness of legal advice. You should always consult an attorney prior to taking action that can affect your legal rights.
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