I want to discuss with you motions to modify parenting time. One of the biggest issues in motions to modify parenting time occur when a parent, who is the primary parent, wishes to relocate with the children to another state. In the law, that kind of relocation is called removal and it takes the permission of a judge or the other parent in writing and a court order in order for relocation to occur. Now, in those situations what is required is that the parent who wishes to move away with the children has to file a motion with the court making the request for relocation and stating the reasonable grounds for the relocation.
In Colorado, the court cannot require a parent to live in Colorado or anywhere. It is the children that are under the control and jurisdiction, what they call continuing jurisdiction of the court. If a parent wishes to relocate because that parent got a great job in Chicago and wants to move out of Colorado with the children, that parent is going to need to establish what is the criteria for that relocation that would serve the best interest of the children. Things like family members being in Chicago, increased financial access, schools, education, health care, all those kinds of things are a factor. Of course, the other parent can make an argument that the relocation is not in the best interest of a child.
If you are considering the issue of should I hire an attorney or not hire an attorney and what kind of an attorney should I hire, I think you, as a client, should have a very good feeling about the lawyer and the lawyer’s law. Shanye Law can help you at any stage of the legal process. We’re here to help you, contact us today.
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What happens when a parent takes children out of Colorado with the intent not to return them to Colorado? I’m not talking about vacations or plans to see grandma over Christmas vacation. I’m talking about a parent who is sharing custody with the other parent and puts the kids in the back of the car in the middle of the night or takes them to the airport and they fly out of town, and essentially mother has abducted the children from the other parent. In those kinds of situations, one of the things that the court is going to look for is whether or not there is an active case that’s been filed in the court.
In a case where parents have never been married, but they share parental responsibilities of children and they’ve never had any court orders entered, a case can be filed called an allocation of parental responsibilities. That protects the parents from having one or the other abduct or take the children out of Colorado without a lawful court order. This is very important to parents who fear that the other party may pick up in the middle of the night and take the children to see family, like their parents who live in another state, without the permission of the other parent. Colorado’s law requires that before a child or children can be removed from the State of Colorado that they do so by either obtaining a court order or a signed written consent authorization from the other parent to relocate the children from Colorado.
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A lot of moms and dads ask us when do the children get to decide where they’re going to live and which parent they’re going to spend parenting with? A lot of these cases involve children that at the time of the divorce were maybe eight, nine, or 10 years old. Years later in a split custody situation a parent will say, “Well my daughter doesn’t want to go over and see the other parent anymore. She’s now 14 years old and she should be old enough to decide.” Colorado’s law is defined with respect to children by the Best Interest Statute. The Best Interest Statute in Colorado does not include an age for children to be able to have a say in when they can or cannot see the other parent or what kind of parenting time should be imposed.
In many of these cases what we do is we try to have either a neutral or expert appointed such as a child, family, investigator, or a parental responsibilities evaluator, or even a child therapist who may be seeing the children. Talk to the kids, get their input, so that their input can be provided to a judge to make a decision. Many times in Colorado a court is entitled to speak to children in camera, that means in chambers without a recording device or with a recording device and speak directly to children about what they see as problems with parenting and what they want. It’s always good to talk to a qualified lawyer about your options when you want to have children make a impact in the parenting case.
Let’s discuss for a few minutes Re-unification, or Re-Integration. Main that topic comes up when we’re talking about children, and children that have been alienated form one parent or the other, or where a parent has been away for a prolonged period of time. What the role is of experts and therapists in those
types of situations.
I had a case many years ago where children were small, they were under eight years old, and the dad took a job with a defense contractor in Korea, and he hadn’t seen the kids for an extended period of time. Then the parties went through a divorce, and he still didn’t see the children because he was overseas working. When he attempted to get back into the children’s lives, it was a very difficult process. The children really didn’t know their Father, except for Christmas Cards, and Birthday Cards, and occasional Skype that he would do with the children.
We arranged for Dad, who took a job here in Colorado Springs, to go to a therapist with the children, and to work on their relationship, to see if the relationship could develop, and they could proceed into the future with a good relationship, and because we had an excellent therapist in the case, we were able to do that. Dad and the children were Re-integrated into one another’s lives, and that was a very successful example of what Re-integration Therapy is all about.
Often times clients want to know what kind of court appearances they are going to have to make in their case. Let me give you a couple of examples. If you’re a client that does not live here in Colorado, but your divorce case was here in Colorado and your ex-wife and the children still live here in Colorado, and let’s say you’ve moved to the East Coast of the United States, and you’re now living in Boston. You want to file a motion to be able to spend more time with your children, because during the initial divorce case, you only got very minimal parenting time and you want to change that. Well, if you have a lawyer here in Colorado and you file your motion here in El Paso County,or many of the other counties here in Colorado, the court will allow you to file through your lawyer a motion to appear by telephone, so that for whatever court appearances you have, you can make your presence known by appearing for whatever critical hearings there are by phone.
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