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For divorced parents, spending time with their children is perhaps their biggest concern. Both parents are accustomed to living together and participating in the family’s day-to-day activities. New living arrangements and the associated division of parenting time is one of the biggest adjustments divorced families must make. Today, many still refer to time spent with their children as visitation or visiting time.
Years ago, the state of Colorado changed the term visitation to “parenting time.” While the words may differ, the meaning remains the same.
In the wake of divorce, parenting becomes increasingly complicated. The first task, and perhaps the most challenging one, is drafting a parenting plan which outlines custody. Parenting time identifies where minor children will live, how time is divided, and the schedules that must be followed.
When one household transitions to two, the time minor children spend with each parent in each location is a decision that must be made. Quite often, divorced parents have different ideas of how the ideal situation should look. Parenting time and schedules are personal to each family. The team at Price Family Law understands and appreciates that no two family situations are identical. Jobs, responsibilities, schedules, and needs vary considerably, and unique situations are not uncommon.
One of the hallmarks of our service is the personal attention we provide to each of our clients. We know that cookie-cutter representation is never appropriate. When you work with us, your visitation attorney will listen carefully to you, gain an in-depth understanding of your specific situation, and help to craft an agreement that provides the best for your children and your family.
Divorce and upholding your responsibilities to your children can be emotionally challenging. As your Denver visitation attorney, we will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure the time you and your children can spend together is protected. We represent you — thus, your goals are our goals. Contact our child visitation lawyer today at 720-615-1750 for your free consultation.Request Free Consultation
You and your spouse established a lifestyle, one to which your children have become accustomed. When your marriage ends, much changes — including the living arrangements for your family. The transition from one household to two can be emotional and determining what it will look like is often challenging.
Because our visitation rights attorney is not emotionally involved in your relationship, she can provide logical advice based on the guidelines established by law. Our team will leverage our experience and knowledge to help craft a parenting time agreement with the best interests of you and your children at heart.
In Colorado, the rights of both parents to maintain a relationship with their children is paramount. However, how these relationships are designed and guidelines governing their physical aspect is dependent upon the parenting time agreements created.
To determine where your children will live and the time spent with each parent, you must submit a plan to the court. These documents are often comprised of a schedule detailing time with each parent, a listing of specific responsibilities, a plan for decision making and specific parental rights, a guideline for vacations and holiday time, and a dispute plan because, even under the best of situations, issues can and do arise.
If you are a parent and your child spends the majority of their time, as determined by your parenting agreement, with your ex, you may feel like you have lost control. However, you do have reasonable rights of visitation. These include the following.
The right to participate in decisions. Just because your child does not live with you for the bulk of the time, this does not mean you don’t have input into the important decisions that affect them. Legal custody (also known as decision-making responsibility) is often shared between both parents, regardless of where the children live. As such, you are entitled to share your thoughts regarding your children’s healthcare, education, well-being, and religion, and they must be taken into account.
Critical to making these decisions is access to important information. You should be able to review your children’s medical and educational records whenever necessary.
You also have the right to participate in deciding where your child lives. One parent cannot move out of state without permission from the other or a decision by the courts. You can contest out-of-state relocation, as well as moves that would significantly impact your relationship with your children.
You also have the right to spend time with your child as outlined in your parenting agreement. Your ex cannot unilaterally limit this. Should you find that your visitation is being compromised, speak with a visitation rights lawyer to understand how best to proceed.
Colorado courts feel strongly about parenting time. If your ex-spouse constantly hinders your parenting time and you can’t see your child according to the assigned schedule, you may choose to file a motion in court. This can result in a judgment that provides you extra time with your child to compensate for the time you have lost. In some cases, your ex may be responsible for your legal fees, including court costs. If your ex-spouse repeatedly ignores parenting time terms you may decide to petition for contempt of court or enforcement of your parenting time order.
Do your children spend the majority of their time living with your ex? If so, you may be concerned about your ex-spouse denying your parenting time. Legally, this is not permitted. If your parenting agreement was filed with the courts, the schedule included is enforceable by law.
That said, under the law there are some circumstances in which restricting parenting time would be allowed, particularly if the child was in danger (physically or emotionally) as a result of time spent with the other parent.
When both parents agree on a parenting plan, the process is less stressful. Recognizing this possibility is the first step in determining parenting time. Assuming you and your ex can agree to the generalities, our child visitation attorney will draft a comprehensive agreement that covers all aspects, including, but not limited to, schedules, holidays, and vacations.
If you are unable to come to a point of mutual agreement, your case moves to the courts. We will leverage our in-depth knowledge of the factors the court considers important and help you present them appropriately.
That said, this goal of equal sharing of parenting time is not always ideal. Should you want to advocate for a different schedule, we will help you identify and appropriately present the reasons why your suggestion is in the best interests of your children.
Decisions regarding parenting time are based upon the best interests of the child. This is the primary factor when determining care. Colorado law takes into account a number of issues, including, but not limited to:
In all likelihood, your parenting plan will remain in effect (with modifications as needed) until your children turn 18.
Creating parenting time agreements is a complex process requiring qualified legal support. As your attorney, we rely heavily on the information you provide. Our meetings are critical in gaining a complete understanding of your family’s past, current situation, and hopes for the future. The details you share will help us advocate for you as plans are created.
It is not surprising that countless questions arise during this process. While the answers to most are specific to your personal situation, some questions have more standard answers that may apply to the majority of people.
Below we have presented several of the questions that our Denver child visitation lawyer receives most frequently, along with our answers to them. We invite you to review them and reach out for clarification.
While often seen in Colorado (and appreciated by the courts), an even split of parenting time is not required. Courts look at each family’s specific situation and reasons for varying requests.
When parents cannot reach an agreement (even with the help of their attorneys), parenting time decisions are turned over to the courts. Your visitation attorney can explain this process, represent you and protect your best interests.
In general, the answer to this question is no. However, on rare occasions, the Court will permit a child to testify in a custody matter.
In a perfect world, separations are amicable, and all parties agree to everything that is in the best interests of their children. Unfortunately, life is not always perfect; divorce can be contentious. In certain situations as stated in § C.R.S. 19-1-117, grandparents can petition for formal visitation. These include:
Grandparents filing for formal visitation must take additional legal steps, and courts, when deciding these cases, focus heavily on the best interest of the child. Our child visitation attorney can answer specific questions regarding your case.
Yes, Colorado law C.R.S. 14-10-129 outlines the guidelines for plan changes. In short, they are permitted if the current arrangement is no longer in the best interests of your children. The modification would need to be requested in court. Informal changes between parents are not a good idea — only court-ordered agreements can be upheld.
No, you cannot. Child support and parenting time are two separate issues and are treated as such under the law. Withholding child support is not a legal ground for denying visitation.
These are only a handful of the questions that arise when caring for your children is at issue. We know you have more. Take a moment and reach out to our parenting time lawyer at Price Family Law to schedule a free consultation. We will meet with you, learn about you and your children’s needs, and explain the best way to move forward.
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The importance of experienced and qualified legal representation during the parenting time decision process cannot be overstated. The choices made at this time will impact your family forever. You want to ensure that your time together is protected, and your plan best provides for your kids.
A knowledgeable parenting time attorney can impact the course of your future. Our professionals have represented countless parents in Colorado and assisted them throughout this process that is often draining. We understand the laws and know what the courts look for when making these critical decisions.
We can help you draft a plan that will appeal to your ex and, in those situations where agreement is impossible, we will represent you in court. We are committed to not only providing you the highest quality service, but also helping to mitigate the anxiety which this process often produces.
We are always available to answer your questions, provide advice and just listen. At Price Family Law, we are committed to you and your future.
Leverage our knowledge and experience so you can begin this process with exceptional support and guidance. A well-crafted parenting plan, or child custody agreement, is an important tool as you begin your new life. It ensures your children are cared for and protects your children’s relationships.
Contact us today for a free consultation at 720-615-1750. We will take the time to fully understand your family situation, share our experience and approach, and answer any questions you may have. We appreciate the importance of well-crafted, legally enforceable parenting plans — they are the foundation on which your family’s future will be built.