Denver Child Custody Modification Attorney
At Plog & Stein, P.C., a significant part of our Colorado family law practice relates to modifications of custody and visitation orders. The statuary standard for each issue differs and it’s important for your Denver child custody modification attorney to understand the distinctions. Though your Colorado divorce or custody case may be concluded in an initial sense, the court retains jurisdiction over the children in terms of both custody/parenting time until they are 18 years of age. Things change as kids get older and fortunately, Colorado statute acknowledges that visitation and custody needs may not always stay constant.
Need Help With Visitation Modifications? Our Attorneys Can Help!
Visitation or “parenting time” modifications are generally governed by C.R.S. 14-10-129. Modifications of visitation do not necessarily require a “change in circumstances,” as with child support. The statutory standard for changing parenting time is generally a “best interest” standard, meaning that the court can make changes it deems to be in the best interest of the children. To change actual residential custody of a child, the standard is generally an “endangerment” standard, whether physical or emotional. Of course, as kids start reaching 15 or 16, courts will be much more inclined to put a greater weight on their wishes as relate to modifications of visitation. Modifications to visitation or custody occur up to the time a child turns 18.
Visitation modifications are generally sought based on the following reasons:
- Kids getting older
- Changes in their wishes as relates to time with the parents
- Changes in circumstances or relationships of the parents
- When one parent or the other wants more time with the children
- The current schedule is just not working, whether due to logistics or to problems with one parent or the other, such as substance use, mental health issues, or other environmental issues which become problematic for the kids
Modification of Legal Custody (Parental Responsibilities Regarding the Making of Major Decisions)
In addition to changed circumstances warranting a modification of parenting time, situations arise in which one party or the other may need to modify orders regarding the making of major decisions for the children. The experienced child custody modification attorneys at the Denver family law firm of Plog & Stein, P.C. regularly handle cases involving modifications of legal custody and are keenly aware of the legal standard necessary to change orders regarding such.
In the vast majority of cases, the parties share joint decision making. This entails an order indicating that the parties will make major decisions jointly regarding medical, educational, and general welfare issues for the children. Courts prefer that both parents be involved and that neither has a greater say. However, statute recognizes that circumstances can change which may affect the ability to get the job done jointly when it comes to managing the needs of your children. Modifying decision making entails a different standard from visitation modifications. Keep in mind that a court can change decision making for one issue, such as school, while keeping things in place regarding another, such as medical.
Specifically, C.R.S. 14-10-131 sets forth factors which can lead to a modification of decision making:
- The parties agree to change decision making, whether from sole to joint or joint to sole.
- The continuation of the current decision-making orders poses a physical danger to the child or subjects the child to significant emotional impairment affecting development.
- One party has abandoned or acquiesced his or her decision-making authority.
- A change in parenting has occurred which warrants a change in decision making.
The dedicated Denver child custody modification lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. understand these legal standards and how they can factually be met or refuted depending on circumstances. Colorado courts recognize that decisions need to be made for the children and that when breakdowns occur, due to an inability to agree, something has to be done. Likewise, courts understand that sometimes people abuse their sole decision-making authority in a manner detrimental to the kids. The key to dealing with a modification of legal custody is understanding where the client stands and how the facts of their case tie into the legal standards. Our attorneys do just that, while also using their insights as to how they believe a specific court or judge might rule.
For Step-By-Step Guidance Regarding Custody and Visitation Modifications, Seek the Help of Plog & Stein, P.C.!
Our firm handles all types of modifications and keeps abreast of legal standards related to such. Let the child custody modification lawyers at our Denver firm assist you in either filing your modification or defending against one filed by the other party. Our goal is to get you through the modification process, whether child support, custody, parenting time, or alimony, in an effective and efficient manner.