Modifying Parenting Rights

Do you need to modify your parenting time arrangement or change who has decision making responsibility for your child? Or have you been put in a position where you need to defend and protect your current parenting rights?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you are in the right place. At Cohen and Cohen our family law attorneys can create a new parenting plan that can be approved by the court and represents your changed circumstances or protects you and your child’s rights.

Modifying Parenting Time

Parenting time is the amount of time a parent or custodian spends with a child. Arrangements such as who takes the children on weekends, where the children are dropped-off or picked-up, and time allocated for holidays falls under the category of parenting time.

Parenting time may be restricted, increased, or modified as long as the changes are in the best interests of the child.i Circumstances that may require a modification of parenting time also include:

  •  A parents desire to relocateii
  • Changing the child’s custodial parent
  • Endangerment or impairment of child’s well-being

If the parties are in agreement as to the modification being made, then the change can be made at any time.iiiHowever, if the parties are not in agreement, then you must typically wait two years from a prior allocation of parenting time in order to make changes. This is unless the Court determines that the current situation endangers the physical health or significantly impairs the emotional development of your child.iv

In circumstances where less than two years’ time has elapsed and you would like to prove that there is endangerment or impairment to your child’s well-being, then the court will require you to provide new facts of changed circumstances or provide facts that were unknown at the time of the original parenting time determination.

It is also important to note, that if your ex-spouse or the current custodian of your child files a frivolous, groundless, or vexatious motion to modify parenting time, then the court may order them to pay your attorney’s fees.v If you feel like this may be the case in a currently ongoing matter, then you should make sure to speak with an attorney about your rights and protect yourself from an unscrupulous ex-spouse or custodian.

Modifying Child Custody or Decision Making Responsibility

Decision making responsibility defines who has the authority to make important day-to-day or long term decisions. This authority is often given to the custodial parent with whom the child spends the majority of their time. Decisions such as which school a child should attend, attendance at religious activities, and whether a child will receive therapy fall under the category of decision making responsibility.

Other circumstances that may require a modification of child custody or decision making responsibility include when:

  • Primary decision maker has changedvi
  • Child has been integrated into a different familyvii
  • Parenting time has changed

If the parent or custodian each consent to changing the decision making responsibility, then the allocation of decision making responsibility may be changed at any time. However, just like with parenting time, if the parties are not in agreement, then you must wait two years from a prior allocation unless the current situation endangers the physical health or significantly impairs the emotional development of your child as proven with new or previously unknown facts.

Taking the Next Step to Modify Parenting Rights

The next step is to meet with an attorney to review your matter and protect your interests. In order to modify parenting time a Verified Motion to Modify/Restrict Parenting Time must be filed with the family law court and in order to modify child custody or decision making a Verified Motion to Modify Allocation of Parental Responsibilities must be filed.

In both situations a Parenting Plan must be drafted and filed with the Motions. The attorney can also defend you in any of these actions by responding to a previously filed Motion or help you and another party draft the appropriate agreed upon stipulations to make uncontested changes.

We Can Help You Protect Your Interests

If you need assistance in a matter involving parental rights and responsibilities, at Cohen and Cohen, we can help you understand your options, make important legal decisions, and will provide you with professional representation.

Speak to the Parenting Rights Attorneys at Cohen and Cohen to see how our experience helping families pursue or defend the welfare and best interests of their child can help you.

To schedule an initial consultation to review your case with a Colorado Parental Rights Attorney at our convenient central Denver location call 303-933-4529.

i Bird v. Bird, 132 Colo. 116, 285 P.2d 816 (1955); Bernick v. Bernick, 31 Colo. App. 485, 505 P.2d 14 (1972); C.R.S. 14-10-129(1)(a)(I).

ii C.R.S. 14-10-129(1)(a)(II).

iii C.R.S. 14-10-129(2)(a).

iv C.R.S. 14-10-129(1.5).

v C.R.S. 14-10-129(5).

vi Holland v. Holland, 150 Colo. 442, 373 P.2d 523 (1962); Heckel v. Heckel, 156 Colo. 20, 396 P.2d 602 (1964).

vii In re Chatten, 967 P.2d 206 (Colo. App. 1998).

viii C.R.S. 14-10-131(1).