February 2022 | 2022COA18 (Co. Ct. App. 2022)

In re Marriage of Flanders (Colorado 2022)

A caretaker, who receives parental responsibilities in a dependency proceeding, doesn’t necessarily qualify as a psychological parent for the purposes of child support. A dependency order gave a grandmother parenting responsibilities for her grandchild and ordered the child’s parents to pay support. After beginning regular visitation, the father filed to modify the order and requested the grandmother be considered a psychological parent who could be ordered to pay support, citing In re Parental Responsibilities Concerning A.C.H., 2019 COA 43 (Co. Ct. App. 2019). The district court modified the parenting time but declined to consider the grandmother a psychological parent. The father appealed. The appellate court affirmed, distinguishing A.C.H.  In A.C.H., a stepparent, who had been involved extensively in a child’s life requested parental responsibilities of his stepchild in a custody action. The court clearly limited the holding. In this case, the grandmother received parenting responsibilities through a dependency action. She didn’t hold herself out as the child’s parent or request permanent custody of the child.

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