Denver Child Custody Lawyer
Trusted Denver Child Custody Attorney Ready To Assist You
There is perhaps no other legal matter more stressful or contentious than determining custody of your children.
Deciding what the visitation (parenting time) schedule will be or whether there will be joint legal custody of the kids can easily make even the most amicable partners erupt into heated disagreements.
Additionally, navigating Colorado’s child custody laws, norms, and court procedures can also be a complicated task that amplifies confusion and stress for all parties involved.
The first step in obtaining a fair outcome in the best interest of your child is finding the right law firm to advocate for you. The child custody orders you end up with can have an impact on your children’s future, for years to come. Whether your case is settling or you’re headed to a hearing in front of the presiding judge, you want to make sure that those orders contain the terms and details needed to give you a workable parenting plan.
That’s where we come in. The Denver child custody lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. are skilled in all aspects of child custody litigation.
We will effectively fight for you when dealing with issues such as:
- Establishing Initial Child Custody Orders
- Parenting Time and Parenting Time Modifications
- Parental Responsibilities and Decision-Making
- Enforcement of Orders
- Child Custody Emergencies
- Interstate Custody
- Child Custody Evaluations and Experts; and
We recognize that to most parents, nothing matters more than their children’s futures. Each of our attorneys is skilled and experienced in dealing with both simple and complex custody issues in all the Denver metropolitan area courts.
If you’re dealing with issues regarding the custody of your children, contact the experienced lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. Regardless of the issues you face or the stage your case is at, we can help!
Why Choose Plog & Stein, P.C. as your Denver Child Custody Attorneys
At Plog & Stein, P.C., our legal professionals are well-versed in all aspects of child custody in Colorado. Since 1999, we have helped thousands of parents understand their rights and options related to their children. With each case, we utilize our experience to deliver exceptional service and quality representation to our clients.
- We will listen to your concerns and the details of your situation before crafting a legal strategy that is specifically catered to your desired outcome.
- We have experience resolving custody matters in both divorce and stand-alone custody cases, including cases involving third party non-parents seeking custody of a child.
- We provide our clients with honest and sound legal advice, with an open line of communication at each step. We believe that good communication and an understanding of your rights is the cornerstone of your ability to make good decisions in your case.
- We go into every client interaction with the intent of building a good working rapport and a lasting relationship. We understand that family law matters can last for years and strive to be there for our clients until their children are grown.
Matters of child custody may have lasting ramifications on any family. We understand the seriousness of this decision and are devoted to providing you with the representation necessary to give you an outcome that is in the best interests of you and your children.
Why Do You Need a Denver Child Custody Attorney?
An experienced attorney knows the ins and outs of dealing with the array of child custody issues that can arise.
A Denver child custody lawyer knows what both courts and custody experts are looking for in terms of evidence related to parenting time, decision-making, and emergency matters. We know what a fair settlement looks like and the significance of each word in an agreement can have. As legal professionals, we know what it takes to effectively present your case both in and out of the courtroom. We are dedicated to zealously fighting for our clients.
With years of experience and insights, our family law issues lawyers are here to help clients work through the legal challenges that come when dealing with child custody matters. In general, having a lawyer in your child custody proceeding can provide you with the benefit of knowing your interests are protected at all times, including:
- The drafting and management of court pleadings and other documents.
- Dealing with both the court and opposing counsel regarding deadlines and other procedural requirements in your case.
- Negotiating a fair settlement regarding both large and small custody issues, such as primary residence or a holiday parenting time schedule.
- Guiding you through the court process related to child custody litigation.
- Assisting you in dealing with child custody experts or evaluators in your case.
- The gathering and presentation of evidence for settlement or hearing.
- Preparation of evidence and testimony for trial should your case remain contested or unsettled.
Venturing into custody litigation alone can be overwhelming, particularly if the other side has their own legal counsel. The experienced Colorado child custody lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. strive to give you peace of mind throughout this highly stressful process by providing strong, quality representation. Our only goal is to ensure your needs are met.
Establishing Parental Responsibilities Has Many Complex Elements
In the State of Colorado, “parental responsibilities” is the formally recognized term for child custody. Parental responsibilities are comprised of the two primary elements of parenting time and decision-making.
Parenting Time in Colorado Child Custody
“Parenting time” is the time children spend with their parents. In other states, this is more commonly known as “physical custody.” Parenting time schedules can vary from case to case.
When the parents share equal time, there is no primary residential custodian. However, 50/50 time is not optimal or feasible in all cases. Parenting time is completely severable from decision-making rights. When formulating a parenting time schedule, it’s important to include as much specificity and detail as possible regarding the schedule, exchanges of the children, holidays and vacations, and more.
The primary battle in most child custody cases is going to be over the issue of parenting time. While most Denver area child custody courts favor maximizing time between both parents, issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or serious mental health concerns can impact what the court might order in terms of a schedule.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon for either a parental responsibilities evaluation or child and family investigation to be ordered when the parties disagree regarding major parenting time issues, and particularly when there are other safety issues at hand. Ultimately, the court is charged with entering parenting time and custody orders it believes to be in the best interest of a child. As this standard is subjective to the judge in your case, it’s important to make sure you’re armed with the evidence needed to present your arguments.
At Plog & Stein, P.C. our Colorado child custody lawyers deals with all aspects of parenting time, including the establishment of initial orders, modifications to the parenting time orders, parenting time emergencies, relocations, and enforcement of orders pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-129.5.
Child custody orders are in effect until a child turns 18 and it’s quite common for legal issues to arise after the initial custody arrangements are made.
Decision-Making Authority in Colorado Child Custody
“Decision-making authority” establishes who makes major decisions on behalf of your children. This is recognized as “legal custody” in other states. Decision-making orders typically relate to major medical, educational, and general welfare decisions.
In most cases, parents end up with joint decision-making, under the premise that they have the ability to work together in the best interest of their children. However, sole decision-making may be appropriate in high conflict cases or cases involving domestic abuse or mental health issues. Our attorneys can help you weigh your options regarding legal custody and decision-making.
Recognizes that circumstances can change, Colorado statute, C.R.S. 14-10-131, authorizes modifications to decision-making orders until a child reaches 18 years of age. Typically modifications will only occur if the current decision-making scheme poses a physical or emotional danger to the child.
In some instances, a court may also be able to resolve an ongoing dispute regarding a specific decision-subject, particularly when the parties are at an impasse and a decision needs to be made. Our Colorado child custody attorneys are equipped to deal with all your legal custody needs.
Child Custody for Unmarried Parents
It is increasingly common for unwed parents to have a child and remain unmarried. In fact, statistics show that roughly half of the children born in the U.S. are born to unwed parents. Colorado law does not make distinctions related to marital status and custody in terms of substantive outcomes regarding parenting time or decision-making rights.
Unmarried parents have the same rights as married parents in the state of Colorado, although there can be procedural and strategic differences when dealing with custody cases involving unmarried parents.
Firstly, when a child is born during a marriage, there is a statutory presumption that the husband is the father. Likewise, the family has generally existed in an intact fashion, with both parents being in the same home for some time and having at least some regular contact with the child. Conversely, in some child custody cases, there may have been little or no contact between the child and the other parent, typically the father.
While many child custody cases commence with no issues as to the biological ties between each parent, others start with one party or the other having questions regarding paternity. When one party questions who the father is, either a paternity case can be filed, which will be governed under C.R.S. Title 19 and juvenile statutes, or the issue of paternity can be raised in a standard custody (allocation of parental responsibilities case). In most instances, paternity is not an issue. It should be noted that paternity does not necessarily need to be established to seek parental responsibilities under C.R.S. 14-10-123.
The average custody case with unmarried parents entails a couple which lived together for some time during the child’s life. Parental roles and involvement have often already been established. However, unlike a divorce situation, there can be challenges for one parent or the other tied into finances. In a child custody case, the court has no authority to enter orders tied into spousal support (maintenance), or property. As such, it’s not uncommon to see situations in which a couple breaks up and one parent struggles financially due to their financial dependence on the other suddenly being impacted. The financial safety net(s) that can come in a divorce are not there for the parent who stayed at home with the children while the other worked. In these instances, getting child support established quickly can help defray the new concerns of financially raising a child on your own.
Just as the law treats parents the same, whether married or not, at Plog & Stein, P.C., our unmarried parents lawyer believes that resolving your legal issues regarding parenting time or decision-making via agreement is generally best, as it allows our clients to dictate their own futures. Again, not all cases settle and we will be prepared, in those instances, to take your matter to court. Contact our unmarried parents attorney to discuss your custody case.
We Can Also Help with Non-Traditional Custody Cases
While most custody matters arise in a divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities case between the parents, custody issues can also be litigated in paternity cases or when a non-parent, third party seeks custody. Likewise, when there has been a case involving the custody of a child, grandparents (and great-grandparents) also have the statutory right to seek visitation.
- Paternity Cases: When paternity has not been established or disputes agree as to the paternity of a child, either parent, or potential parent, can file a paternity action under C.R.S. Title 19, Article 4. Thought the best interest standards still apply, paternity cases are litigated under a different set of juvenile law rules. Once paternity is established, generally, through DNA testing, the court can enter visitation and legal custody orders.
- Third-Party Child Custody. Colorado law allows non-parents to seek custody of a child under certain circumstances, such as when the child is not in the physical care of either parent. In these matters, the petitioning party must be able to show that they meet the requirements for being able to seek custody. This also holds true for grandparents wishing to obtain custody of a grandchild. If you are contemplating seeking custody of a child of whom you are not the biological parent, it makes sense to first consult with an experienced Colorado child custody attorney.
- Grandparent Visitation. Grandparents have the right to seek court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren, but only if there has already been an existing case regarding custody of the child, or if they are the parents of a parent who is now deceased. Requests for grandparent visitation can only be filed once in a two year period. Courts must determine, based on clear and convincing evidence, that grandparent visitation is in a child’s best interest.
Plog & Stein, P.C. can give you the guidance and representation you need in any of these types of cases, regardless of which side of the equation you’re on. We have a wide breadth of experience and knowledge in the custody process for people in non-traditional situations and can advise you on the proper measures necessary to secure your desired outcome.
We Can Help You Fight for Your Children. Contact Us Today.
Whether you are a married couple undergoing a divorce, or unwed parents seeking a formal custody arrangement, an experienced Denver child custody attorney is essential to protecting your rights as a parent and your children’s best interests throughout the process.
If you need help determining the terms of child custody either through a new agreement necessitated by divorce or modifying a previous agreement, please contact the skilled Denver child custody lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. With our help, you can fight to secure orders that reflect both your wishes and protects your children’s well-being. As part of our child custody practice, we also deal with all matters related to child support and the financial support of children.
At Plog & Stein, P.C., our only goal is preserving the well-being of our clients, ensuring that their needs are met by our representation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a member of our legal team.
- Restricted Parenting Time
- Special Needs Child Custody
- Enforcement of Parenting Time Orders
- Temporary Child Custody Orders
- Joint Custody
“When I first came to Plog & Stein it was simply discuss the renegotiation of child support. Little did I know that within 72 hours I would be retaining Steve Plog for a custody battle. I have recommended him to my friends and I would recommend him to anyone with who wants honest and effective representation.” – Carolyn
Frequently Asked Questions
As a stepmom, do I have any custody rights?
In general, the answer to this question would be “no.” However, there are instances in which a step parent may obtain rights to visitation or custody in Colorado. If a widow or widower remarries and the stepparent is part of the child’s such that the child ultimately comes to identify the stepparent as a parent, the law does allow for that person to potentially seek custodial or visitation rights based on the theory of being a “psychological parent.” This can also arise in instances in which the other biological parent is absent, for whatever reason, such that the stepparent assumes a parental role. If there is an existing case between the parent and the child’s other biological parent, it may be necessary to take action in that case. If there is no existing case, the issue of obtaining visitation or custody rights as a step parent would be raised in a divorce case or separate custody case.
Can I seek custody of my niece and nephew?
The answer to this question depends on various facts. The right to seek custody of a child as a non-parent depends. The child must not be in the care of either parent. This does not mean that the baby sitter or the school teacher can seek custody of a child because he or she is not in the parents’ care. The standard, as per Colorado case law, is that the parent, or parents, have voluntarily relinquished physical care and their parental responsibility to a non-parent. In such an instance, the non-parent can seek custody. Additionally, if the non-parent had physical care of the child for 6 months or more and less than 6 months has passed since the parents resume physical care of the child, the non-parent can file. The court will also need to assess whether a bond exists such that the child views the non-parent as a “psychological parent.” In many instances, people do not meet the criteria set forth above to seek custody. In true dangerous situations, our attorneys will suggest calling social services, which may take steps to protect the child and/or open up a case in which custody might be sought
Can grandparents with visitation rights keep me in Colorado?
No. Though grandparents are able to seek grandparent visitation in cases involving the custody of a child, or as a new case if their child, one of the parents, is dead, grandparents cannot keep a parent in the state of Colorado should that parent seek to relocate elsewhere. Parents are afforded a fundamental, constitutional right to the care and control of their children. Case law, though allowing grandparent visitation, upholds this right as taking precedence. As such, parents in a grandparent visitation case are free to move. However, modification of the grandparent visitation schedule may need to be sought by either side, preferably prior to then move. With an out-of-state move, the issue of travel costs may also arise.
Our family attorneys can also support with the following cases: