Custody / Parental Responsibilities Issues

Initial Determinations

Parents facing the end of their intact family relationship often feel paralyzed by concerns about how the process will impact their children. Will the children be okay? How often will they get to be with their children? How will holidays be split? Who gets to make decisions about the children?

Understanding the legal process can help. It seems less intimidating and less scary. Colorado recognizes the same legal rights and provides the same protections to children whose parents are divorcing, dissolving their civil union, or have never been married or part of a civil union. Our courts allocate parenting time and decision-making by focusing on the “best interests of the children.” It is child specific – the Court looks at what is best for your children, with your family history, and the uniqueness of your situation.

Knowing what the laws prohibit or do not say can also be reassuring. The laws specifically prohibit consideration of conduct that does not affect the party’s relationship to the children. The courts are not to presume one parent is better able to serve the children’s best interests based on gender. The parental rights in Colorado do not reflect a presumption of 50-50 parenting time. A request for genetic testing is not to prejudice a party’s position. Children do not, at any age, get to decide with whom they live. That all being said, an equal parenting time schedule may be in the best interests of some children. A reasoned expression by a child of why she wishes a certain schedule could be very compelling. Again, the specifics of your family and children are what are to be considered.

Many fathers worry that they enter the family law legal arena with a predisposition against them, or at least in favor of mothers. Colorado courts by and large are gender neutral. The focus is the children, their best interests given the unique family history, and what orders best address their particular needs. Some fathers seek out “father’s rights” law firms, but this can backfire. Those firms can have reputations of focusing on the rights of the father, denigrating the mother, and/or removing the focus from the children – who are to be the focus.

Instead, what you need for success in parental responsibilities cases is quality representation. The Law Offices of Brenda L. Storey, P.C. provide that quality. The initial determination of parental responsibilities is your one shot to get it right for your children. Attorney Brenda L. Storey’s forte’ is custody cases. Ms. Storey will work with you to understand the emotional and developmental limits of children, age-appropriate schedules, and how to meet the specific needs of your children. She will guide you and your case, focusing on the statutory factors most applicable to gaining your position, while assisting you with what parenting plans can give your children the best chance at success following the break-up of the family. She also will explore with you when experts can be of assistance, and the tools that are available for your children, you and the family as a whole to help with future success. This quality representation and experience truly make the difference. You cannot risk the outcome.


Long Distance Parenting Time at the Time of the Initial Determination

When a relationship ends, one parent may seek to move a significant distance away. Sometimes it is to return to from where they moved. Sometimes it is to move to where family is. Sometimes it is for a job opportunity. Such a contemplated move adds stress and concern for the parents. Where will the children live? How often will each parent be able to see the children given the long distance between the parents’ hones? Can the court stop a parent from moving?

Regardless of the reason for the contemplated move, the court cannot prevent the move, nor can it tell parents where to live. Instead, the court must accept where each parent intends to live, and fashion a parenting plan in the child’s best interests. These are some of the most difficult cases, and they are almost guaranteed to go to trial. The same standard – best interests of the children– and its factors are applicable. But, the two that can be the focus are how such a move does/does not encourage the love, affection and contact between the child and the other parent, and whether the move is putting the needs of the parent ahead of the children’s needs.

Post-Decree Relocation

After the initial determination of parental responsibilities, a parent may wish to relocate with the children. This will require a modification of the parenting time. For these cases, there are twenty-two specific statutory factors that the court must follow, and there are requirements of the parent wishing to relocate with the children, as well as for the parent wishing to keep the children from relocating away from Colorado. Navigating these statutory factors, in addition to the emotional strain that accompanies these cases, can be overwhelming.

Ms. Storey has handled numerous cases involving long distance parenting and post-decree relocation. She has successfully represented the parent seeking to move with the children, and has successfully represented the parent seeking to keep the children in Colorado. The reality is, these cases change the relationship the children have with the parent living a long distance away. This is not the kind of case where you want to the risk the end result. Having counsel an experienced custody lawyer in these kinds of cases, who offers quality representation, is crucial to your success, and really the future success of your children. Your success starts with the Law Offices of Brenda L. Storey, P.C.


Parental responsibility determinations are modifiable until your children reach emancipation. Parenting time can be changed, increased, or restructured if it is in the children’s best interests. If a parent seeks a substantial modification, such as seeking to switch the parent with whom the children reside a majority of the time, there is a higher standard that must be satisfied. Developing your facts to support your position and tailoring them to the applicable standard are key to the outcome of the case. These types of cases often require expert testimony and special care in determining what third-party witnesses can present the most useful evidence.

Denver child custody Attorney, Brenda L. Storey offers the quality, specialized representation you need for your post-decree matters. She has years of experience in the Colorado domestic courts, assisting clients in achieving their desired results – results for themselves and for their children.

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