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When can a child custody decree be modified in Colorado?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2020 | Child Custody

Child custody and parental decision-making rights is often contentious in a Colorado divorce. Even after the case is supposedly complete, there can still be disagreements between the parties that can escalate into acrimony. If the couple harbors animosity from the buildup to the end of a marriage and the subsequent divorce, the disagreement about custody issues can be problematic. Before letting the situation spiral out of control, it is beneficial to consider the law for these potential changes.

When there has been a request for a modification, there are time constraints on requesting another modification. If there was a filing for a modification – whether it was granted or not – there cannot be another filing for two years. An exception is if the court thinks that maintaining the agreement or decision-making responsibility poses a danger to the child. For there to be a modification of a child custody decree, the court must ascertain the facts and decide that the previous agreement had factors that it did not know about or there was a situational change that makes it necessary to modify the agreement. The fundamental part of a possible modification is the child’s best interests.

There are other reasons for which a modification can be made. They include: the parties agreeing to it; the child having become a part of the family of the person petitioning for the change and the other party agreeing to it; there was a parenting time modification that requires a change to the decision-making responsibilities; there was consent that the other party make the decisions even if the person who had decision-making responsibility could have made the decisions on his or her own; or the child will be in danger if the situation remains the same.

Some cases are amicable and the parents simply agree to the changes without dispute or rancor. Others can be harder. If there are challenges with the child custody agreement, modifications are possible. Before taking the next step and potentially making a mistake, it may be wise to discuss the case with a legal professional experienced in family law. Advice and guidance can help to determine the preferable course of action to achieve the desired ends.