Once your divorce is finalized, your life may change in ways you did not expect. If you have children, you may find that you need to change your current parenting plan to better suit the needs of your child, as a result of these life changes.
Not all life changes warrant a parenting plan modification. Under Colorado law, you will need to prove that your family has undergone a material change in circumstances. Some common material changes include:
- A custodial parent planning to relocate out of state with the child
- A parent becoming physically or mentally unable to care for the child
- A parent is refusing to comply with court ordered visitation/custody
- The child’s needs have changed due to age or health condition
- The child is in physical or emotional danger
In addition to a material change in circumstances, you must show that the modification will serve the best interests of the child.
Depending on your situation, you may want to modify physical and legal custody. You can modify:
- Parenting time – the amount of time a child spends with each parent
- Decision making responsibilities – who has the power to make decisions relating to the child’s upbringing
Under C.R.S. 14-10-129(1.5), if the modification is intended to change primary custody from one parent to the other, the parent must wait two years from the filing of a prior modification request. However, if the child is in imminent danger under the current parenting plan, courts will make an exception to the two-year rule.
Courts will not grant modification requests that are filed for no good reason. A family law attorney in your area can help you show the court that the modification you are seeking is necessary for the best interests of your child.