Colorado Child Custody Modification

February 17, 2022

Colorado Child Custody Modification

A child custody agreement can be one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce, as disagreements between the parents are common. In some cases, one parent may seriously disagree with some of the stipulations outlined in the agreement. Additionally, child custody agreements may need to be updated as circumstances change. Fortunately, Colorado child custody modification laws allow either parent to request changes in their custody agreement.

If you are curious about child custody modification in Colorado, the team of experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group is ready to help you understand your legal options. Call us today at (720) 463-4333 to learn more about the process of changing a child custody agreement.

Parenting Time vs. Decision-Making Responsibility Modifications

Most child custody modifications will be based on parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, or both. In Colorado, a custody agreement can be modified when one parent has decided to allow the other complete control over decision-making responsibilities on behalf of the child. Additionally, the court can approve a child custody modification based on parenting time. For example, imagine one parent has sole custody and the other only has weekend visits. The court could decide to change this time arrangement to allow for more visitation time, but still let the sole custody parent maintain decision-making responsibilities.

How Can a Custody Agreement Be Modified in Colorado?

In Colorado, state law C.R.S. 14-10-131 designates the requirements for modification of custody or decision-making responsibility for parents. A child modification request can be made no sooner two years after the previous child custody agreement was made official unless the court determines that allowing the current agreement to continue could pose a danger to the child’s health or emotional development.

In order to successfully modify an agreement, the parent filing their request (and possibly their attorney) must prove that changes in either the circumstances of the child or the child’s parent since the original document was signed necessitate changes for the best interest of the child.

While the best interests of the child are always paramount in family law cases, there are a few exceptions to the requirement for changes in circumstances, if:

  • Both parents or guardians agree to the requested modifications
  • The child has become integrated into the family of the individual filing the request, with the consent of the other parent or guardian, and this new circumstance calls for a modification.
  • A previous parenting time order has already been modified and this modification necessitates modifying the allocation of decision-making responsibilities.
  • One parent or guardian has consistently allowed the other to make individual decisions on the child’s behalf, which decisions should be made individually, or which the parties were to make together.
  • Keeping the same arrangement of decision-making responsibilities would pose a danger to the physical health or emotional development of the child.

What Documents Are Included in Colorado Child Custody Modification Requests?

Parents who decide to request Colorado child custody modification may be required to prepare a combination of official legal documents. There is no uniform requirement that applies to all cases, as each family has unique circumstances. The documents regarding changes in decision making issued through the Colorado Judicial Branch include:

  • Parenting plan
  • Parenting plan (civil union)
  • Pretrial statements
  • Verified motion/stipulation to modify decision-making responsibility
  • Motion to modify or restrict parenting time
  • Affidavit in support of the motion to modify the custody arrangement
  • Court orders related to the modification or restriction of decision-making responsibilities
  • Order regarding the modification or restriction of parenting time
  • Stipulation regarding parenting time modification

Each custody modification case is unique. Parents who are considering filing a modification request are often unsure of where to begin and what documents they need to gather in order to submit their request. The team of dedicated Colorado family attorneys at Johnson Law Group guides parents through each step of the modification process, including compiling all necessary documents for their case.

Colorado Child Custody Modification Requests in Family Court

Most child custody modification requests will go through the family court system. During this process, the court will evaluate the request and the unique circumstances of the family when making their decision on whether to grant the modification request. Each case is unique, so there is no one roadmap that the court will use to make these decisions. However, the court will always prioritize the best interests of the child.

Some factors that the court may consider before making their final decision include:

  • Whether or not both parents/guardians agree to the suggested modification
  • If the child has been integrated into the requester’s family
  • How the modification could influence the way parenting time is distributed
  • Whether one parent has agreed to let the other make decisions on the child’s behalf
  • Whether the child’s physical or emotional well-being is at risk

Is Going to Court Always Necessary for Child Custody Modification in Colorado?

In some cases, parents may prefer to avoid the court system when seeking child custody modification in Colorado. This is often the case in amicable agreements where both parents agree that a child custody modification is necessary. Parents do have the option to skip the court process, but it is important to remember that child custody changes that are not certified in court are also not legally binding. The changes will not be enforceable by the court and the parents will not have any legal obligation to follow the new agreement.

How a Colorado Family Lawyer Can Help with Child Custody Modifications

Navigating the family court system on your own can be complicated and frustrating. Each family has unique needs and making sure those needs are met through the legal system often requires thorough planning and a detailed understanding of how the state’s family court system works. Many parents who are seeking to modify their child custody agreement turn to experienced family law attorneys for guidance through this process.

If you are planning to request a Colorado child custody modification, the team of experienced family law attorneys at the Johnson Law Group is ready to guide you through this process. We have helped countless families with child custody modifications and other family law matters. To learn more about how we can help draw up a plan that suits your family’s needs, contact our law office today at (720) 463-4333.

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