Once a divorce has been finalized and a child custody agreement is signed by the judge, you and your ex-spouse are legally required to follow the terms of the order. However, as the months and years go by, you may find that the original agreement no longer serves the best interests of your child and that changes to the parenting plan are needed. In such cases, you will need to modify your child custody agreement.
If you and your ex can agree on the changes to be made to the parenting time, an attorney can come up with a stipulation to modify your current agreement. Once the stipulation has been signed by both of you, it will be sent to the court to be made into an order.
Reasons for Modification
In many cases, only one spouse is interested in changing the current order and will therefore need to file a motion for modification with the court. Modifying an agreement may be necessary in cases involving significant changes in life circumstances. Some of these major changes may include:
- Parent’s relocation
- Parent’s new job/loss of job
- Parent’s health problems
- Risk to child’s safety/wellbeing
- Parent getting remarried
Restricting Parental Time
Colorado courts will only restrict a parent’s parenting time if the current agreement poses a significant risk to the child’s physical and/or emotional wellbeing. Before attempting to restrict your ex’s parenting time, you should make sure you have significant reason to believe your child is in imminent danger and solid evidence to back up your claim. If the court finds that you filed the motion out of spite or for another frivolous reason, you may have to pay your ex’s attorney fees.
Prior Modifications to Child’s Primary Residence
Keep in mind that if there has been a past modification, where the primary residence of the child was changed from one parent’s house to the other’s, you must wait two years to file for a new modification requesting a change in the child’s primary residence, unless the child is in danger. The purpose of this is to prevent parents from interfering with the child’s stability.