Custody & Parenting Time Attorneys in Denver, Colorado
As a parent, you know you’ll do anything for your child no matter what. This is true whether you’re married and part of a traditional family, parenting solo, or separated or divorced and navigating the tricky world of co-parenting. However, those who are attempting to co-parent after a separation will likely have to establish a child custody and child visitation schedule through the courts. This is almost always a difficult task, but one that’s essential to ensuring the best interests of all your family members are represented.
If you have concerns or questions about this process or about how to modify an existing parenting time plan, turn to Attorneys at Law Timlin & Rye, P.C. We’re able to serve clients in Denver, Colorado, and throughout Adams County, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, and Douglas County.
Child Visitation Rights in Colorado
Anytime a couple is seeking separation or divorce and has a child in common, a plan must be established between the two parents. When this is done in the courtroom, the judge will always consider the best interests of the child above all else when determining who should have custody and what kind of parenting time plan should be implemented.
In the vast majority of cases, the judge will prioritize maintaining regular and meaningful contact with both parents. And, unless it can be shown that one parent is guilty of abuse or neglect, they will have visitation rights. This is true even if the other parent has been awarded full legal custody.
When deciding parenting time, a judge will consider several different factors, including:
The ability of each parent to provide for their child, both financially and emotionally.
The willingness of each parent to encourage a positive relationship with the other.
How close each parent lives to one another and to the child’s school.
Other family members that may be involved in the child’s life.
The medical and educational needs of the child.
Even in cases where a judge determines one person isn’t adequately fit to have their child live with them, they will often approve a supervised child visitation schedule. Under these conditions, the parent will still have set times they’re able to see their child, but there also must be trained personnel there who supervise the interaction. This is most seen with parents who may have a history of domestic violence or drug addiction but who are in recovery and need extra support to reinstate their parental rights.
Requesting Changes to the Visitation Agreement
Oftentimes, a parenting plan or visitation modification will be needed, and this can happen for any number of reasons. Sometimes one parent isn’t holding up their end of the agreement and custody or visitation change is needed. In other cases, one parent may have had to move away for a job and is no longer able to maintain the previous schedule. Whatever the reason, you should always go through the proper legal channels to ensure your rights are protected. It’s highly recommended that you work with a family law attorney any time a change like this needs to happen.
In general, modifications can only be requested after at least two years have elapsed since the previous modification. However, there are some situations where a judge will grant the change. The process will look a little different based on the type of change you’re asking for.
Parenting time plan: If you have a rather simple change request for the visitation schedule that 1) both parents agree to and 2) still serves the best interests of the child, a judge will almost always grant this.
Custody changes that affect the child’s primary residence: These changes will be treated much differently and usually require the requesting parent to show a “substantial change in circumstances” and that the change is necessary to continue serving the best needs of the child.
What the Judge Will Consider
Just as with the original establishment of a custody or parenting plan, a judge will consider many factors when evaluating a change request, including:
Whether both parents agree to the change.
Whether the child’s health or well-being is currently being endangered somehow by the existing plan.
Whether moving the child will make it substantially more difficult for the other parent to have regular contact with their child.
The needs of the child and how big an impact the change will make on them.
What to Do if Your Visitation Rights Are Being Violated
If your parenting partner is not adhering to the court-ordered plan, it’s incredibly important that you don’t address this serious issue on your own. Any changes to the plan need to originate from the court, and, if you try to implement changes on your own (such as withholding visitation), you could be risking your own parenting rights. Call a lawyer immediately if you have a concern and let them advise you on your next steps.
Custody & Parenting Time Attorneys Serving
If you’re in the Denver, Colorado, area and you’d like to sit down with an experienced lawyer to discuss your concerns about custody and parenting time, contact our team, the Attorneys at Law Timlin & Rye, P.C.