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Preparing a request for parental responsibilities

During divorce proceedings, those involved in the separation can feel overwhelmed due to the decisions that they must make in short order. Replying to attorney requests, making tentative plans for the future and fulfilling the responsibilities of a career are all tasks that must be addressed in order for the process to move forward. When children's needs are added to the list of concerns to be resolved, this procedure becomes even more complex.

Keeping a level head when these duties are accumulating can be a difficult task, but it is possible. Those who have successfully navigated divorce proceedings while dealing with child custody keep ahead of the chaos by becoming informed on the process. Rather than react to conflict as it appears, those in the know research relevant aspects of family law. If you have reviewed our website, you are familiar with the standard of "the best interest of the child," which is the test the Colorado courts conduct to determine parent's rights in custody cases. You have also learned about the types of child custody available to Colorado parents.

What you may not know is the procedure that the court follows when allocating parents' rights. Learning about the steps you will be required to take in this process can help you maneuver through the steps efficiently and effectively. This preparation may help you receive the rights that you request.

1. Establish paternity

For fathers who are not named on the birth certificate, establishing paternity is the first step to take in order to be considered for receiving parental responsibilities. If the mother had been married when the child was born, the courts assume that the husband is the father of the child. Should this not be the case, the father must provide proof in court.

2. Obtain a review from a state-approved evaluator

Parents can have an evaluator observe interactions at home and provide recommendations regarding parenting responsibilities. These evaluations require parents to make time commitments, and they may take more than a month to complete.

3. Gather evidence that supports your claims

Parents should determine which responsibilities they are seeking and gather evidence that prove they deserve those supervisory rights. In some cases, parents may want to establish a history of making medical decisions or of serving as a primary caregiver. Other evidence can be used to support a claim that one parent is unfit for caring for children.

4. Draft a parenting plan

A parenting plan is document that shows how a parent intends to raise a child after divorce. This plan presents a schedule for visitation, outlines conflict resolution strategies, and assigns responsibilities for decision making, among other issues.

5. Present your evaluation, evidence and parenting plan in court

Having amassed this information, parents can appear in court and have their plans approved by a family court judge. Parents who draft a parenting plan and fail have it reviewed by a judge make it difficult to enforce the plan should their ex decide to disregard the agreement.

While there are many steps that must be taken before a divorce is complete and parental responsibilities are allocated, the process is more manageable with planning. When parents know what is expected of them, they often find it easier to accomplish the necessary tasks.

Knowledgeable attorneys can serve as a valuable resource during this procedure. It may be helpful to seek out the counsel of a lawyer in order to establish a plan of action.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
1820 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Phone: 719-362-5113
Phone: 719-475-9994
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