Posted by: Vernon Ready
Category: Child Custody
The New Year often brings a new focus to our priorities and goals. While 2016 may have been the year of focusing on your career or getting your life back on track, you may want to focus on your relationships and your role as a parent this year.
Most parents have the benefit of being able to spend time with their children whenever they would like, but if you are bound by a custody arrangement, you may not be so lucky.
Colorado state courts do allow you to change a child custody (or “parenting time”) agreement, but it often requires the cooperation of your co-parent, as well as material or measurable changes since the first custody agreement was decided. This does not happen overnight, either.
Start working towards getting your parenting time arrangement altered by using the following tips to both build a stronger relationship with your child and beginning the official process itself.
Work to Get Along With Your Co-Parent. The easiest way to change child custody arrangements is to come to a mutual decision with your co-parent. Even if it takes all of 2017 to come to terms with your divorce and work to create an agreeable relationship with your co-parent, it will be worth the effort when you are able to spend more time with your child. If you want to seek outside help to mend your relationship, counseling or mediation may also help you come to solutions and agreements.
Make the Most of Your Time With Your Child. The times that you do get to see your children are precious. Make your children a priority while they are in your care, and use your time away from them to focus on your other responsibilities, errands, goals, and so on. Colorado determines parenting time and child custody based on the best interest of the child. If you can show that your job as a parent is a top priority and the child can benefit from seeing you more, you are more likely to be granted more time with your child.
Re-Open the Original Child Custody Case, If Necessary. The same court that made your original agreement is the one that will modify or terminate that agreement. If you have moved away from that jurisdiction, you can get the decision moved elsewhere, but you will have to open the original case and request a change before you can begin the modification process.
Begin the Paperwork. Once you are confident enough to take a change in parenting time to the court, you must fill out forms provided by the Colorado Judicial Branch. These petitions require financial statements, child support worksheets, and a small fee. This form is used whether both parties agree or disagree on the changes laid out in the petition (although there is more work to be done when the parties disagree).
Separate paperwork will have to be filed if you want to change child custody (your ability to make important decisions for your child – health, education, financial, etc.).
Hire a Child Custody Lawyer. If you and your co-parent disagree on parenting time changes, you may have to present your case in front of a judge. Be prepared with statements to prove why your involvement is in the best interest of your child. For more information on how you can prepare a case and fight for your right to see your child, contact a Colorado family lawyer.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.