Colorado Legislative Council Staff



(replaces Fiscal Note dated January 20, 1998)

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 98-159

Rep. Gordon

Sen. Mutzebaugh


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

March 3, 1998

Senate Judiciary

Susan Colling (866-4784)



Summary of Assessment

            This bill would eliminate traditional references to child custody by changing terminology to parental responsibilities and rights. The bill would direct parents during dissolution of marriage or legal separation to submit a proposed or agreed parenting plan by a certain date. A parenting plan may be entered by default and either party may amend their proposed plan. The bill requires both parties, except in cases of physical or psychological abuse, to participate in a parenting conference with a neutral third party and to enter permanent parenting plans.

            Further, the bill states the objectives of a permanent parenting plan and includes the provisions that must be addressed in the plan of which each would be separate, independent and enforceable. In addition, the bill describes factors the court must consider in meeting the best interests of the child and circumstances under which an order of individual responsibility may be ordered by the court. It further lists certain conduct by a parent as it relates to restricting or restraining a parent from responsibility.

            The bill restricts the court from modifying a parenting plan or decree concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities unless new facts arise that were unknown before or the child’s circumstances have changed. The bill lists the factors that the court must find in order to modify the plan or decree, with the exception of circumstantial changes. If a motion to modify was found to be brought in bad faith, the bill directs the court to assess attorney fees and court cost to the moving party.

            The bill would apply to causes of action relating to parental responsibilities and rights, parenting plans, parenting time, and grandparent visitation filed on or after February 1, 1999. Further, the provisions would apply to causes of action or motions filed on or after February 1, 1999, for modifications of previously entered court orders.

            The bill would take effect February 1, 1999, unless a referendum petition is filed during the ninety-day period after adjournment sine die of the General Assembly, or on the date of the official declaration of the vote of the people as proclaimed by the Governor, if a referendum petition is filed pursuant to Article V, Section 1 (3) of the State Constitution.

            The fiscal note is assessed as having no fiscal impact on state revenue or expenditures. The bill simply modifies child custody to be termed parental responsibilities and rights and sets forth conditions to be followed when child custody is involved in dissolution of marriage and legal separation cases.


Departments Contacted


            Department of Human Services

            Judicial Department

            Health Care Policy Financing