Modifying Parenting Time in Colorado
Denver Parenting Time Modification Attorneys
Plog & Stein, P.C. has been fighting for our Denver area family law clients for over 20 years. Given our decades of experience, we understand that finishing your divorce or child custody case is only part of the story. As circumstances change, needs change, and kids get older, it’s not uncommon for parenting time modification issues to arise. The visitation schedule that might have worked in the past my no longer be in your child’s best interest. Fortunately, Colorado statute affords people the option to seek modifications to their visitation schedules based on changed circumstances. If you’re needing your parenting time orders redone, or defending against a motion to modify from the other parent, contact our experienced family law team to assess your options.
- Parenting Time Modifications
- Emergency Parenting Time Motions
- Enforcement of Parenting Time Orders
Chose the Right Family Law Firm for Your Parenting Time Modification Case
Since 1999, our firm has helped thousands of clients deal with parenting time issues, include all types of modification matters. Each member of our team has significant experience litigating or settling parenting time cases. Our parenting time modification attorneys are keenly aware of statute and the types of evidence judges look for when assessing a parenting time modification. We also know what’s fair or appropriate when it comes time to discuss settling your parenting time issue.
While your circumstances are unique chances are we’ve seen them before. Ultimate, the only thing that matters is working towards our clients goals and the parenting time schedule they seek. Colorado parenting time laws can be nuanced and different standards apply when seeking basic changes to parenting time, changes in primary custody, or emergency relief. Beyond understanding these standards, we believe it’s also important to present each client with their options, including the potential for using a child custody expert as part of their case. Whether fighting for you in the courtroom or at the negotiation table, your Plog & Stein Denver modifying parenting time lawyers will be there as your advocate.
Modifying Parenting Time in Colorado
Parenting time modifications in Colorado generally stem from C.R.S. 14-10-129. Section 129 sets forth differing standards depending on the modification you are seeking, or defending against.
- A general modification of parenting time is going to be governed by the “best interest” standard, which requires a judge to find that any change to the current visitation schedule is in a child’s best interest. This applies to a request to both increase or decrease a parent’s time with their child.
- A modification of parenting time which changes primary residential custody requires the court to also find that a change in primary residence is needed due to the current scheduling posing either a physical danger to the child or putting the child at risk of impairment to his or her emotional development.
- A motion to move or “relocate” a child in such a manner that the geographic ties with the other parent are impacted is governed by a subsection of Section 129, which requires the court to look at various factors tied into the proposed move. When a motion to relocate is filed parents without primary physical custody an opportunity to seek it, without having to prove endangerment.
- Emergency motions to restrict parenting time are also governed by Section 129. A motion to restrict can be filed in situations when a child is in “imminent” or immediate danger of physical or emotional harm in the care of the other parent. Courts take motions to restrict seriously and generally put a high burden of evidentiary proof on the moving parent.
Restricted Parenting Time
Under C.R.S. § 14-10-129(4), you may file an emergency motion to restrict parenting time. There are standards and procedures to ask the court to restrict parenting time when a child faces an imminent danger as a result of the other parent or their parenting time. This type of motion should be filed sparingly because it is only for situations in which a child is truly threatened or endangered. You could possibly lose credibility with the court if you misuse this motion, which makes it important to retain a restricted parenting time attorney who has a good sense of what the court is likely to see as an imminent danger.
When filing a motion to restrict parenting time, you will need to prove that there is a physical or emotional danger and that it is imminent, meaning that the endangering event happened recently. You need to act quickly after something serious happens because if you wait too long, the threat is not likely to be considered “imminent” any longer. The law does not specify what counts as a danger, and the court has the discretion to determine whether the actions that you think are a danger do actually put the child at risk. Judges in Colorado tend to be careful when interpreting the other parent’s behavior because it is presumed that a child benefits from interacting substantially with both parents, and both parents have a right to parent their children.
Once you file a motion to restrict parenting time, the court is likely to review it in the subsequent 24 hours. If the motion is granted, the other parent’s parenting time is restricted until a full hearing can be held (parenting time is also restricted upon filing, which can be altered depending on the court’s initial review). This means that the parenting time will only happen when an appropriate third party is able to supervise it. Pursuant to statute, the hearing shall happen within the next 14 days from filing. At the hearing, the parents can present evidence and argue their positions. The court will decide whether to grant the motion, put less restrictive limits on parenting time than what was proposed, or deny the motion.
If the court denies this type of motion, you will need to stick with the existing parenting time order. If the court finds that a motion to restrict parenting time was brought for frivolous reasons, no reason, or to bother the other parent, it may order that attorneys’ fees and costs be paid to the nonmoving party.
Sometimes, it is wiser to file a motion to modify parenting time if the problems that you perceive are not so bad that they imminently endanger the child. An experienced restricted parenting time lawyers can evaluate whether it may be wiser to file a motion to modify parenting time or file a motion to restrict parenting time.
Need Help Modifying Parenting Time in Colorado? Contact Us Today
Knowing the legal standards for modifying parenting time is one thing. Knowing how to apply those standards within a case, or in the courtroom, is another. When contacting Plog & Stein regarding your parenting time modification concerns, your attorney’s first step will be to get firm understanding of your circumstances so that he or she can give you a realistic assessment of your rights and options.
From there, we will work to formulate a strategy for meeting your objectives. We also help people defend against modification and emergency motions. It’s not uncommon for a parent to unjustifiably seek to take the other’s parenting time. Recognizing this, we are ready to fight for you regardless of which side of a motion you’re on.
Contact a Denver Modifying Parenting Time Attorneys
Plog & Stein, P.C. has been helping family law clients for decades. We believe that each client and each case matters. Our attorneys strive for excellence in the representation they provide. With a great sense of caring and professionalism, we work hard obtain the parenting time outcomes you deserve. As issues of child support often arise when dealing with parenting time modifications, we are also highly experienced in all aspects of child support.
Parenting Time Modification: Frequently Asked Questions
How often can my ex file a motion to change custody?
The answer to this question depends upon the content of the existing orders. If one person has the majority of the visitation, or time, with the children, C.R.S. 14-10-129(1.5) indicates that absent a showing of danger, a motion to modify parenting time that also changes the party with whom the children reside a majority of the time, can only be filed after 2 years has passed from entry of the final orders or disposition of the most recent motion to change custody.
If the parties already have equal parenting time, there is no set time frame in terms of how someone must wait to try to change the orders as to custody. That being said, most Denver family law courts will ultimately have an issue with someone who files repeated motions.
The absolute exception to the 2-year rule is endangerment, whether physical or emotional in nature. When children are in danger, statute and courts understand that action may need to be taken without waiting.
I am in the military and being deployed overseas. What happens with my parenting time and joint legal custody?
The Colorado legislature has deemed the deployment of a person in the military to be a legitimate endeavor warranting special treatment under statute. As such, pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-131.3, any changes to parenting time or decision-making are going to be viewed by the court, as per statute, as interim or temporary in nature.
A service member going overseas should certainly attempt to get any agreements in place prior to leaving regarding parenting time or decision making. Statute indicates that upon return to Colorado, and the filing of a notice with the court, parenting time and decision-making as per prior orders resumes.
Thus, those in the military are afforded the protection of knowing that being deployed overseas will not likely be used against them in future legal proceedings. One should also keep in mind that statutory standards for modifications of legal custody/decision-making would still apply. Fortunately, in this day of internet, cell phones, and Skype, decision-making regarding major issues should not be seriously interrupted from a logistical standpoint due to overseas deployment. We are ready to help Armed Forces members with their custody and visitation matters, before and after deployment.
I have custody of my kids. Can I move out of state with them?
Relocation of children outside the Denver metropolitan area is one of the issues our firm handles for our domestic relations clients. When a party has primary residential custody, or even sole decision-making, he or she does not have the legal right to relocate the children out of state, or in a manner that geographically impacts visitation in a significant manner, without written permission from the other party or an order of the court.
In reality, we believe that relocation is the most difficult battle to win. As with other aspects of custody cases, a court must make the decision as to whether to authorize relocation of the children based on the “best interest standard.” C.R.S. 14-10-129, the statutory section dealing with modifications of visitation, sets forth the criteria a court will look at when assessing a request to relocate.
In instances in which there are two good parents and significant visitation for the non-custodial parent, getting permission to relocate is highly unlikely. In essence, the party wishing to move with the children must have a very good reason, such as a new job making much greater income, or perhaps the other parent is not following his child support or alimony obligation, or maybe that parent has not been exercising his or her visitation for quite some time. Each case is different and unique, but a court will be looking for a significantly important reason for the move, whether reasonable visitation can be implemented for the party left behind, and whether the move is truly in the kids’ best interest.
A new spouse or significant other living, or moving, out of state is not a valid reason in the eyes of most courts. It is not uncommon for the court to appoint a child and family investigator or parental responsibilities evaluator to investigate all aspects of the case as relate to relocation. We can help you assess your potential relocation case, whether bringing it or fighting against it.