When Should You Change Your Custody Order?

When Should You Change Your Custody Order?

Upon finalizing your divorce, you came away with child custody orders that suited you and your children’s circumstances at the time. Circumstances change, however, and as children grow, their needs also change. Colorado courts understand that modifying child custody orders is sometimes imperative to serving the involved children’s best interests, and as such, they support those changes they deem in alliance with safe and supportive living conditions for the children. If it’s time to change your custody order, it’s time to consult with an experienced Aurora post-decree modification lawyer. 

Your Child Custody Arrangements

Your child custody arrangements boil down to three distinct orders that include:

  • Decision-Making Orders – Generally, both parents share decision making powers, which means that they both contribute to making important decisions on behalf of their children, such as decisions about education, religious upbringing, health care, and extracurricular activities.
  • Child Custody Orders – Custody orders refer to whom the children live with. Typically, children live primarily with one parent and have a visitation schedule with the other parent. 
  • Parenting Time Orders – Parenting time refers to when the children are with each parent. 

Making changes to any of these orders is a separate modification that requires its own specific filings. 

Making Modifications

The State of Colorado only allows modifications to be made to child custody orders and decision-making orders every two years. The exceptions to this timeframe are when the court finds that waiting for the two-year period to lapse could harm the health and/or emotional development of the children involved or when the request involves changing the children’s primary residence due to unforeseen circumstances. While modifying one’s parenting time orders is also governed by the two-year waiting period, the exception for such a change is when the parent with primary custody plans a significant move that would make it difficult for the other parent to continue seeing the children. 

Moving Forward toward Modification

If you and your ex are both in agreement about every detail of the custody changes you’re proposing to the court, you can move forward with a stipulation agreement. In such an instance, you’ll present your parenting plan to the court, which the court can sign off on. If, on the other hand, you and your ex are in complete disagreement on the matter – or there’s a sticking point – you’ll need to file a motion with the court that originally handed down the orders. Modifications are complicated, and working closely with an experienced post-decree modification lawyer is always in your best interest. 

An Experienced Aurora Post-Decree Modification Lawyer Can Help with Your Child Custody Concerns

If the time has come to make child custody modifications, Chris Little at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, in Aurora is a dedicated post-decree modification lawyer with extensive experience helping parents obtain custody modifications that best serve their own – and their children’s – needs. Your case is important to us, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (720) 370-2171 for more information today.

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