Decision Making Responsibilities

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates. 

We’re experts in DECISION MAKING RESPONSIBILITIES cases in Denver and other cities throughout Colorado.  

Call us today to talk personally with a lawyer about your issues concerning Denver DECISION MAKING RESPONSIBILITIES.  (303) 502-9600.


What are “Major Decisions?”

Decision-making responsibilities involve a parent’s right to make “major decisions” affecting the child.  “Major decisions” include choices about medical care, such as choice of health care provider and whether the child will receive specific medical treatment, including orthodontia or mental health care.   Major decisions also include those related to education, like where the child will attend school, which classes or programs he or she will enroll in, and whether he or she will receive tutoring.   Finally major decisions include the child’s religious training and education.  Major decisions also commonly include those related to the child’s extra-curricular activities and travel.  Even issues like dating, driving privileges and personal appearance issues—such as make-up, body piercing and tattoos— have been held to be “major” decisions in Colorado courts.

How are Decision-Making Responsibilities Allocated? 

In practical terms, Colorado Courts must decide whether parents should share decision-making responsibilities (“joint decision-making”) or whether one parent should make all major decisions (sole decision-making”).  Court’s may award joint decision-making authority on some issues and sole decision-making authority on others.   When awarding sole decision-making authority to only one parent, Court’s commonly require that parent to confer or consult with the other parent before making any major decisions.

Best Interests of the Child Standard

The legal standard for determining decision-making authority is the “best interests of the child.”   There are nine factors that go into the “best interests” test.   Please refer to our webpage on Parenting Time.   In addition, to these nine factors, the Court must consider three others when allocating decision-making authority:

  • whether there is credible evidence that the parties can cooperate and to make decisions jointly;
  • whether the parties past pattern of involvement reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support that would indicate an ability to provide a positive and nourishing relationship with the child if the parties share decision-making authority; and
  • whether awarding joint decision-making responsibility will promote “more frequent or continuing contact” between the child and each of the parties.

The court will also closely scrutinize evidence of any past child abuse or domestic violence.   If either party has committed child abuse or neglect the Court may not legally award joint decision-making over the objection of the other parent.   If there domestic violence between the parties, the court may not award joint decision-making over the abused party’s objection unless the court finds credible evidence that the parties can make joint decisions in the best interest of the child and in a manner that is safe for the abused party and the child.

Talk with your Denver experts on decision-making responsibilities. 

Allocation of decision-making authority one of the most complicated issues in all of family law.   It’s critical that you protect your right to participate in decision-making authority for your child.  Once lost, these rights are very difficult to regain.  Please refer to our webpage “Modification of Decision-Making Responsibilities.”

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Colorado decision making responsibilities experts.  Call us now to discuss your legal options and rights concerning decision making responsibilities in Denver, Colorado and surrounding cities (303) 502-9600.

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