How can a parent in Colorado obtain custody if they aren’t married?

If a parent who isn’t married decides he/she wants a custody agreement established, they will need to file certain paperwork with the district court in the county where the child permanently resides. For example, if a child lives in Denver, CO, their parent would need to file their paperwork with the 2nd Judicial District Court in Denver County. Once a parent has identified what county they will need to file their paperwork in, they will then have to decide whether they will be starting their case with their child’s other parent or if they will be doing it alone.


When Two Unmarried Parents File Their Custody Case Together


When two unmarried parents decide to file their custody case together, the initiator will be identified as the Petitioner and the other parent will be identified as the Co-Petitioner [Source: Colorado Judicial Branch]. There are several forms they will need to fill out and file with the court, some of which include.

  • JDF 1000-Case Information Sheet
  • JDF 1413– Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
  • JDF 1422– Order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities


Because the court may require that additional forms be filed, it is always a good idea to consult with a Colorado child custody lawyer as they can assist the parties with gathering the necessary forms and help them fill them out correctly.


When an Unmarried Parent Files Their Custody Case Alone


If an unmarried parent wishes to file their custody case alone, they can do so by filing the same forms as listed above as well as:


When an unmarried parent files for custody on their own, they will need to make arrangements to serve the other parent after they have filed their forms with the court. Because a parent cannot hand-deliver the documents themselves, they will need to have one of the following parties do it for them:

  1. The Sheriff’s Department.
  2. A private process server.
  3. Someone who is at least 18 years of age or older and is not involved in the case.


If a parent decides to have the Sheriff’s Department or a private processer serve the documents to the other party, they will incur a fee. After the other party is served with the documents, they will need to file a response with the clerk of court where the case is being handled within 21 days if they were served in Colorado. If they were served outside of the State of Colorado, they then have 35 days to file their response.

Now, because there are many steps involved in initiating a custody case, parents who are filing together and alone are encouraged to seek legal help from an experienced Colorado child custody lawyer. If a parent would like help finding a CO child custody attorney in their city, they can contact USAttorneys.com for assistance.

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