In re ACH (Colorado 2019)

2019 COA 43 (Co. Ct. App. 2019)
March 2019

An established psychological parent, who has sought and obtained an allocation of parental responsibilities, can be ordered to pay child support. In this case, the mother had a child from a previous relationship. The mother and father had their own child. The mother and father separated and shared equal parenting time with both children. In 2016, the mother decided to move to Texas, and she filed for an allocation of parental duties only for her biological child. In response, the father filed for establishment as the older child’s psychological parent and an allocation of parental responsibilities for both children, including the establishment of child support. The parents stipulated to the father's establishment as the psychological parent. In its final order, the court allowed the move to Texas, awarded the father substantial parenting time, but declined to award child support for the older child. The mother appealed.  The court of appeals found that there is no statute that provides for support from a psychological parent. However, the court found that a psychological parent who has requested an allocation of parenting duties has the same rights and responsibilities as a legal parent, including the obligation to financially support the child. The court specifically limited its decision to this type of situation.