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How parental responsibilities work in domestic abuse situations

The allocation of parental responsibilities, which is Colorado's name for child custody and parenting time, will ordinarily involve both parents having some decision-making authority over and time with their children.

Generally speaking, it is well-known these days that children do best when both of their parents are involved in their lives, even if the parents themselves are not living together.

However, Colorado law recognizes that when one of the parents has been the victim of domestic violence or abuse at the hands of the other parent, the paramount concern should be keeping both the victim and the child safe. This is true even if the end result is that the other parent, the alleged perpetrator, does not get the same rights as she otherwise would.

Upon becoming aware of the possibility of domestic violence, the judge hearing the case will need to determine whether such allegations are more likely than not true before she continues with the allocation of parental responsibilities. If she concludes domestic violence has occurred, the default is that the perpetrator will not have decision-making authority over the child.

Perhaps more importantly, the judge may make certain orders about parental responsibilities that are designed to protect the child and the victim. For instance, the judge can order supervised visits or other restrictions on visitation that, in other cases, would likely not be appropriate. The judge can also enter orders designed to keep the perpetrator away from the victim and from bothering her.

Victims of domestic violence in the greater Boulder area do have options when it comes to allocation of parental responsibilities. Likewise, those wrongly accused of domestic violence may need to protect their rights with the help of a Broomfield, Colorado, child custody and parenting time family law firm.

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