What's New In Colorado Family Law


In February, 1999 the Colorado Legislature amended Colorado's child custody laws. The terms "sole custody" and "joint custody" were replaced by "parental responsibility" and "parenting time".

Parental responsibility relates to decision-making power for the children. If the parents share joint decision-making responsibilities, then they agree to discuss and make major decisions involving the children together. Major decisions include education, religion, medical treatment, counseling, college, etc.

If one parent has sole decision-making responsibilities, that parent makes all of the major decisions for the children without input from the other parent.

Decision-making has no bearing on parenting time or where the children reside; joint decision-making does not necessarily mean 50/50 shared parenting time.

Parenting time is the new term replacing visitation. The children normally live with one parent the majority of the time and exercise parenting time with the other parent. Parenting time plans vary from every other weekend to shared schedules. Overnights with the non-primary caretaker may be limited where there are very young children.


Effective in October, 1999 the Family Support Registry will handle all support payments statewide which are ordered payable through the court system. For example, if there is a Court Order for child support to be paid through the El Paso County Registry, those payments will need to be sent to the Family Support Registry effective October 12.

For more details see the article in the Gazette Telegraph dated Sunday, September 12, 1999 on the first page of the News section.