What Happens If You Need to Modify Your Decision-Making Orders?

If you and your child’s other parent have decision-making orders entered by the court, you will need to seek the court’s approval if you wish to make any changes. Changes in custody often need to be made because a parent moves, the relationship between the child and parent changes, or the parent seeking the change believes the current agreement is not in the child’s best interest.

There are limits on changes to current custody arrangements, which the court has put in place to ensure the child lives in a stable situation and has the opportunity to form a bond with each parent. Once a motion for modification of a decree for custody or decision-making responsibility has been filed, regardless whether it was approved, another motion cannot be filed for at least two years. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if the child is in physical or emotional danger.

According to C.R.S. 14-10-131, in order to have decision-making modified, it must be shown that “a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or the child’s custodian or party to whom decision-making responsibility was allocated and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.”

Exceptions to the above guidelines include:

(a) The parties agree to the modification;

(b) The child has been integrated into the family of the petitioner with the consent of the other party and such situation warrants a modification of the allocation of decision-making responsibilities;

(b.5) There has been a modification in the parenting time order pursuant to section 14-10-129, that warrants a modification of the allocation of decision-making responsibilities;

(b.7) A party has consistently consented to the other party making individual decisions for the child which decisions the party was to make individually or the parties were to make mutually; or

(c) The retention of the allocation of decision-making responsibility would endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impairs the child’s emotional development and the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantage of a change to the child.

If you believe a modification to your child’s decision-making responsibility court orders is needed or your child’s other parent has made this request, we can help. Contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at 303-773-8100.