Parenting Time and Modification of Parenting Time

Parenting Time Attorneys Serving Durango

For years, “custody” and “visitation” were the terms used to cover the time divorced parents spend with their children. Today, the term used is “parenting time.” Colorado tries to give both parents parenting time. There is a great deal of evidence that shows that children who are deprived of contact with one parent suffer for that lack, both emotionally and developmentally. Typically both parents in Colorado have parental responsibilities, but their ability to make decisions for their kids can be sole or joint. If you are going through a divorce and have children, or if your circumstances have changed since your divorce, you should contact a Durango divorce lawyer lawyer at Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt. Our firm has significant experience helping parents with issues of parenting time in La Plata County, Archuleta County, Montezuma County, and the Southern Ute Tribal Court jurisdiction.

How Parenting Time is Decided and Modified in Colorado

Some fortunate parents can agree on how to allocate parenting time. However, parents are often too distressed by the divorce or issues related to the marriage to reach an easy agreement on their kids. This issue will be left to a mediator or the court if the parents are unable to reach agreement on their own. Generally, reasonable parenting time consists of amounts and pattern of time that work for all the parties. There is no assumption regarding how much time is reasonable. It is very unusual for one parent not to get parenting time unless the parent's rights were terminated, or there are issues such as physical abuse, murder, violence, addiction or sex crimes.

To be eligible for parenting time, you either need to have been married and started a divorce or legal separation, obtained a custody order, established paternity, or qualified as a grandparent under C.R.S. § 19-1-117. Sometimes an independent evaluation is performed, in which each parent's character and capacities are assessed through interviews and observation of interactions between the parents and kids. The evaluator looks at the best interests of the child.

If either parent is guilty of child abuse or domestic violence, the court will consider that in determining parenting time. Any allegations of child abuse or violence have to be supported by credible evidence. The court is required to consider any restraining orders filed by one parent against the other within the last 90 days. Child abuse is an act by a parent that harms a child either physically or emotionally. If the court finds abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, it is not likely that joint decision-making will be awarded.

Parenting time can be modified under § 14-10-129. The court is permitted to make changes whenever the order or modification serves a child's best interests. A modification may also be appropriate if a parent with whom a child lives most of the time tries to relocate to a place that is far enough away that it would affect the child's relationship with the other parent. The parent who is moving must notify the court and submit a proposed revised parenting time plan. Courts are not permitted to restrict a parent's parenting time rights unless a child's health is endangered or impaired by the parenting time at issue.

Discuss Your Parenting Time Needs with a Durango Lawyer

The best interests of your children will be the critical inquiry both at the time a parenting time order is made and when it is modified. A Durango family law attorney at Greenberg, McGuinness & Alt can build a strong case to help you get the outcome you think is the best one for your family. We have served clients in Durango, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, and Ignacio. Contact us at (970) 259-4422 or through our online form to discuss the details of your matter.