Colorado no longer grants parents custody during divorces or separations. Instead, the family courts allocate parental rights and responsibilities. The adults in a family use those basic terms set by the courts to create a thorough parenting plan in most cases.
The details included in a parenting plan can help the adults in the family share responsibility for their children with less conflict. Those who include thoughtful terms in their parenting plans may be less likely to end up embroiled in a dispute with their co-parents in the future.
What terms do parents often need to preemptively address in Colorado parenting plans?
Educational standards and plans
Both parents likely have some degree of decision-making authority for the children that can influence educational matters and healthcare. The clearer the adults are about educational expectations for the children, the less likely they are to have protracted conflicts about school-related issues in the future.
From setting clear rules about the grades the children must obtain if they want part-time jobs or to participate in school sports to rules about what type of school the children can attend, parents can clarify their educational standards in a parenting plan. Doing so will ensure that the parents present a united front and help push their children to achieve the most that they can.
Holidays, birthdays and other special events
Some special events are predictable and recurring. Most parenting plans automatically include rules regarding how parents will share or divide birthdays and holidays. However, there are numerous other special events that children want to share with their parents.
These might include award ceremonies athletic events and play performances. Including clear rules in a parenting plan about how the adults in the family can share those special events could help ensure that children receive the support that they desire from familial adults without the parents needing to battle with one another for the right to be present on those special days.
Communication and conflict resolution
Issues could arise that parents cannot plan for and must instead address as they develop. Co-parents may eventually find themselves strongly disagreeing about certain key decisions. Having specific rules about how parents communicate, such as communicating in writing via a parenting app, can cut down on conflict and minimize miscommunication.
Standards for conflict resolution might include agreeing to a sit-down session with a mediator or a co-parenting therapist so that the adults can work through their disagreements without involving their children or damaging their relationship with one another.
Investing the effort to create a very thorough parenting plan, while seeking legal guidance and support as necessary, can help the adults in a family minimize the conflict that could arise as they continue to jointly support their children.