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Custody

Can I Modify an Existing Parenting Plan in Colorado?

If your child custody arrangement is no longer serving the best interests of your child, you have the right to seek a modification from the court. In order to do so, you need to show the court that a material change of circumstances has affected the efficacy of the original parenting plan.  You will also need to show that a custody modification would be in your child’s best interest.

When making any sort of decision regarding child custody, a court is required to put the best interest of the child above all else—including the best interest of either parent. For this reason, you should know that a court will only grant your request for a modification if it benefits your child. To learn more about your rights and legal options, call us.

What to Expect in the Process

As one can imagine, there will be paperwork to complete in order to start the modification process. To understand what you can expect during this process, Colorado’s judicial branch has provided instructions to file a motion/stipulation to modify/restrict parenting time on its website. Filing for modification may be an option but it does have a wide variety of effects on the parents’ and child’s lives, alike. One factor to consider is that if parenting time is changing, child support may also need to be modified.

Depending on your case, there are some forms you will have to fill out. These may include all or a few of the following Colorado documents:

  • Parenting Plan
  • Parenting Plan (Civil Union)
  • Pretrial Statement
  • Verified Motion tcourts.state.co.us/…/JDF 1423 Stipulation Regarding Parenting Time Modification .pdfo Modify/Restrict Parenting Time
  • Affidavit in Support of Motion to Modify
  • Stipulation Regarding Parenting Time Modification
  • Order re: Modification/Restriction to Parenting Time

Can I Modify My Parenting Plan Without Going to Court?

If you and the other parent have agreed that a parenting time modification is in order, you do not have to go through the courts to make the desired change. However, you should know that failing to go through the courts means that any changes to the original order would not be enforceable by the court—which also means that the other parent would be under no legal obligation to abide by the modified custody order.

What Factors Does a Court Consider?

When one parent requests a modification, a court will consider several different factors.  The most important factor may be whether the change will benefit the child.

When reviewing a modification case, courts may consider:

  • Have both parents agreed to the requested modification?
  • Has the child been integrated into the petitioner’s family?
  • How will the modification affect the distribution of parenting time?
  • Has one parent consented to the other making decisions for the child?
  • Is the child’s physical or emotional well-being currently in danger?

How Long Before I Can Request a Modification?

According to C.R.S. 14-10-129(1.5), a parent cannot request a modification of parenting time within two years of filing a prior modification request.  However, the court can make an exception if the child is in danger. When it does become time to request a change in your parenting plan, keep in mind that a filing fee and additional forms will be required in order to begin the process. Be prepared for this change to take some time to finalize. As always, if the situation calls for emergency action, the standard process will most likely change to address the circumstances appropriately.

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Posted February 16, 2016
by: MFL Team


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