Sometimes a change of circumstances or parenting concerns makes a parent wonder if they have the power to modify an order of the court concerning primary residence, parenting time, or decision making. In Colorado, different standards apply depending upon the given the level and kind of change that is being requested.
Modification of Parenting Time
A parent seeking to change parenting time can file a Motion for Modification of parenting time. The Court will look to see if the modification would serve the best interests of the child. The Court will consider whether there are new facts that show a change in circumstances of the child or the other party since the last custody order. The Court may allow a modification of parenting time if these new facts show that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. If a substantial change in parenting time is requested, then the Court will consider whether the following also exists:
- The parties agree to the modification;
- The child has been integrated into the moving party’s family with the consent of the other party;
- The party that the child resides with for the majority of the time is relocating to a new location that substantially changes the geographical ties between the child and the other party; or
- Or the child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical health or significantly impairs the child’s emotional development and the harm of the change in environment is outweighed by the advantage of the change to the child.
A parent can file a motion to restrict the other parent’s parenting time if that time endangers their child. In other words, that parent’s parenting time endangers the child’s physical health or significantly impairs the child’s emotional development. If the facts alleged support a restriction, then court will suspend the offending parent’s parenting rights, and order their parenting time be supervised. The offending parent has the right to prove at a hearing that their parenting time does not endanger their children and supervision is not necessary.
Modification of Decision Making
If you are requesting a change to the Court’s Order regarding decision making, there must be new facts since the last Order that change the circumstances of the children or the other party. The Court will consider if the change is necessary to serve the best interest of the children. Therefore, the Court will grant the change in decision making if:
- The parties agree to the modification; or
- The child is integrated into the family of the person requesting the change with consent of the other party and such change warrants a change in decision-making authority; or
- There has been a modification of parenting time that warrants a modification of decision-making responsibilities; or
- There has been a consistent pattern of the other parent allowing you to make decisions that were theirs to make under the past order; or
- The retention of the present decision-making arrangement would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development and the harm of the change is outweighed by the advantage of the change to the child.
The longer you wait to speak to a Colorado family law attorney, the higher your chances are of inadvertently giving up your legal rights. Give the team at Lewis & Matthews, P.C. a call today to discuss your parental rights.