Westminster Parenting Time Lawyer
As a parent going through a divorce, visitation rights (statutorily known as “parenting time”) are likely a top priority for you and your family. With decade of family law experience, litigating visitation rights is a major issue in many of our child custody and divorce cases. Our Westminster parenting time lawyers know how contentious the battle for parenting time can become.
At Plog & Stein, P.C., we are prepared to thoroughly and honestly assess rights and options for all of our parenting time clients. Our attorneys will work hard to help you meet your visitation goals, while also making sure you have a realistic understanding of the court process. Nothing matters more than the future of your children.
Understanding Your Parenting Time Rights in Westminster, CO
At this time, Colorado courts use the best interests standard, outlined in further detail in C.R.S. 14-10-124, to allocate parenting time in a divorce or custody case. Courts in Adams County and all around the state have become more open to equal, 50/50 visitation being the norm. This does not mean equal parenting time is automatic or that there are not factors which can lead a court to ordering something different. Your individual facts and circumstances still matter when it comes time to determine a visitation schedule. However, recently, two separate bills were introduced to the Colorado House of Representatives to codify the 50/50 trend, but both bills were postponed indefinitely.
What does this mean for your fight for parenting time? As our parenting time lawyers can explain to Westminster residents, family law courts recognize a parent’s fundamental right to have a relationship with their children. Today, courts may start with the default assumption that having equal time with both parents is the best situation for a child’s emotional development. Again, this does not happen in every case. It is up to the judge’s discretion to determine what is best for the child.
Exceptions to the 50/50 parenting time trend are usually made when a child’s health and safety is endangered or a child’s emotional development may be at risk. For example, if a parent attempts to limit the child’s contact with the other parent or makes derogatory statements about the other parent directly to or within earshot of the child, it can negatively impact that parent’s visitation rights. Other less nefarious factors can also affect parenting time, such as distance between the parties’ homes or one parent’s work schedule. No two cases are alike and you should never assume yours will automatically fit into a formulaic legal box.
Because judges cannot go out into the real world to assess the factors leading to a child’s best interest in each case, the need for custody experts may arise. Colorado has enacted two statutes, (C.R.S. 14-10-116.5) and (C.R.S. 14-10-127), to cover the potential need for a child the child custody experts.
The first, a Child and Family Investigator (CFI), is a neutral third-party who can investigate the situation with regard to the best interests of the child and make a written recommendation to the court related to both visitation and custody. The cost of a CFI is capped by law at $2,750, and a CFI is often a lawyer, but can sometimes be a mental health professional. The second statue allows for the appointment of a Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE). The PRE is always a mental health professional with a license to provide mental health assessments. A PRE investigation is much more in-depth and can cost a lot more than a CFI, as there is no cap on their fees. Choosing a PRE is more suitable when mental health or substance abuse issues are involved in your case.
The child expert you choose, or that is chosen by the court, can have a tremendous influence in a parenting time dispute. As such, it is vital to partner with a parenting time attorney who knows how to effectively engage and work with both CFI’s and PRE’s, and who also has familiarity with the known individuals working in the family law community. At Plog & Stein, P.C., our family law attorneys in Westminster have developed a familiarity with the child experts in the area and we can guide you through the evaluation process, including picking the right expert for your case.
Discuss Your Parenting Time Case with a Westminster Attorney
Contact Plog & Stein, P.C. today to speak with an experienced parenting time lawyer to discuss the merits of your case and the appropriate course of action to take. We represent both men and women seeking to assert their rights to be in involved in all aspects of their child’s life. Call us at 303-781-0322 or contact us to set up an appointment with a Westminster parenting time attorney today.