in collaboration with the Colorado Supreme Court

Getting Started with a Custody Case

The Court will Decide:

  • The parenting time schedule.
  • How important life decisions will be made for the child.
  • How much the child support will be.

To make the process easier:

1st - Can You File?

When Can You File?

  • No other family court case exists.
  • The child must have lived in Colorado for the last 182 days.
  • One of the parents must have lived in Colorado for the last 91 days.

Who May File?

  • A parent to the child.
  • A person other than a parent, if: 
    • The child is not in the physical care of a parent. Or,
    • The person took physical care of the child for at least 182 days. 
      • The case must be started within 182 days since the care stopped.

2nd - Know the Terms

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (APR)
  • Does the law grant this court the ability to decide your case.

3rd - Be Kind

Family court cases can bring out the worst in people. 

Do No Harm

Try these things to avoid harming your child with a custody case:

  • Do not talk badly about the other parent in front of the child.
  • Do not try and harm the child's relationship with the other parent.

Understand that intense emotions make it hard to make good decisions. 

  • When your emotions take over, it takes 20 to 30 minutes to calm down.  
    • Take that time before making choices. Or,
    • Wait until the next day to make those legal decisions. 
  • With a calm mind, you can make decisions that are right for your family.  
  • Try to understand the other parent's opinion.

A Time of Stress

Find productive ways to manage your:

  • Get organized
  • Eat well
  • Get rest, and 
  • Exercise.
  • Develop a support system of adults. 
  • Find positive ways to calm yourself down. 
  • You will not get everything you want. 
  • Get legal help, if possible, to make realistic requests. 
  • The Court has to make some difficult decisions. 
  • Find ways to express your emotions that do not hurt your family.

Next Steps:


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