When you split from a spouse or partner who is the other parent of your child, your initial parenting time order from the family court will likely not be your last. A lot can change regarding your child’s needs from year to year (or even more frequently), and you may need to request that the family court modify your parenting time. However, knowing when to file a motion to modify parenting time is crucial for receiving what you need in court and protecting your child’s interests.
In this article, we discuss your options for modifying parenting time. When you are ready to ask the court for a change in your parenting time order, Plog & Stein, P.C. can expertly handle your case and make the process as smooth as possible. We have represented thousands of clients in family law courts and are ready to do what it takes to achieve the best outcome for you.
Grounds for Filing to Modify Parenting Time
Under Colorado law, C.R.S. 14-10-129, a court can modify a parenting time order when the change would be in the best interests of the child. The law assesses the best interests of a child by evaluating the following:
- The wishes of the child if they are mature enough to give independent and reasoned preferences regarding parenting time;
- How well the child has adjusted to their current home, community, and school;
- The physical and mental health of everyone involved;
- The wishes of both parents;
- Any testimony or reports involving domestic violence;
- The ability of each parent to encourage contact, love, and affection between the child and the other parent;
- The physical proximity of each parent to the other;
- The interrelations and interaction of the child with each parent, the child’s siblings, and other significant individuals in the child’s life;
- The ability of each parent to put the child’s needs above their own needs; and
- Whether there are past patterns of parental involvement with the child that reflect a system of mutual support, values, and time commitment.
Keep in mind that when a family law judge makes a decision about parenting time, they will often seek a setup that encourages continuing and frequent contact between the child and each parent unless the case involves sexual assault, abuse, domestic violence, or neglect.
Reasons to Modify Parenting Time
Some events, however, justify a motion to modify a parenting time order as the best interests of a child can sometimes change. The following instances may warrant a modification of parenting time:
- A change in the child’s educational or medical needs;
- A parent’s behavior taking a turn for the worse or better;
- A parent needing to move far away for health or financial reasons;
- A change in a parent’s financial stability;
- A child in imminent emotional or physical danger because of a parent’s actions;
- A parent has been convicted of a crime;
- A change to a parent’s health and ability to care for the child; or
- An occurrence of abuse or neglect in a parent’s household.
These are just a handful of examples that could be grounds for a motion for modification. When you seek a substantial revision, the court might need to consider additional factors based on the circumstances of your case.
If you want to substantially modify parenting time in Colorado and change the parent with whom your child lives the majority of the time, one of the following scenarios will typically need to apply:
- With the consent of the other parent, the child has been integrated into the family of the parent who is filing the motion;
- The child’s present living situation significantly impairs the child’s emotional development or endangers the child’s physical health, and the harm that a change in environment would likely cause is outweighed by the advantage to the child;
- The parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time wants to relocate with the child to a home that substantially changes the ties between the child and the other parent; or
- You and the other parent agree to the substantial modification.
If you want to know whether your circumstances make modification appropriate in your family law case, speak to one of our knowledgeable child custody attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C.
When to File a Motion to Modify Parenting Time in Colorado
The timing of filing your motion to modify parenting time is going to depend upon your specific circumstances, mapped up with the law.
In an emergency, you are going to want to file as soon as possible, keeping in mind that you will need to prove your allegations to the family law judge. For broader modifications, it will depend on an array of factors and your timing may require strategy.
In any scenario, the key is being able to present to the court why your requests are in your child’s best interest. In many cases, a child custody expert may be needed.
Our attorneys can help you understand the issues tied into your parenting time modification and can help you determine when the best time to file may be. We recognize that no two cases are exactly alike. As such, we will take the time to listen to your concerns as we formulate a plan of action for modifying your parenting time.
Our Job Is to Protect Your Family
Our attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C., have been serving clients in Colorado since 1999, and we take our service very seriously. We can handle the most complex family law matters for you while keeping you abreast of what is happening in your case. We are award-winning, we have decades of combined experience, and we keep the lines of communication open with each client to ensure we get valuable input from them and set them at ease about the status of their case. Please give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment and learn how we can be of service to you.