If you are the parent of one or more young children, a child custody order is likely part of your divorce settlement. When parents do not have equal parenting time under their custody order, the non-custodial parent may have visitation rights.
As a parent with visitation rights, you have the right to spend time with your child during your allotted time with him or her. When your former partner’s actions infringe on your visitation rights, you have the right to fight back and the right to be with your child.
How the Court Determines Child Visitation Rights
In Colorado, the court determines a child’s custody order according to a set of factors that enable it to determine the arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. These factors include:
- Both parents’ physical and mental health state;
- The child’s medical, emotional, psychological, and academic needs;
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- The child’s current living situation and the extent to which altering it would negatively impact the child; and
- If the child is old enough to articulate a well-reasoned preference, the child’s preference may be considered.
What to Do if your Former Spouse is Keeping your Children from You
If you have a court order for a child custody arrangement, you and your former spouse are legally required to comply with it. Failure to do so is contempt of court and can subject a parent to criminal penalties.
Report your former spouse’s behavior to your family lawyer so there is a record of his or her actions. Do not escalate the situation with your former spouse by yelling, threatening, or trying to coax your child into taking your side.
Taking Legal Action to Enforce or Modify a Child Custody Order
An occasional missed visit is not something worth taking legal action over. When this happens, be willing to be flexible and work with your former partner to make up for the missed parenting time. When your former spouse consistently refuses to let your child spend time with you despite your court order requiring it, you need to take legal action.
Take action by filing a petition with the court to enforce your child custody order. When you do this, the court will step in to require your former partner to comply with the order. This could lead to the court modifying your child custody arrangement if it feels your child’s health or psychological well being is being harmed by the current situation. Beyond cases like this and cases where the child is relocating to a new permanent address, Colorado parents may only modify child custody orders every two years. You lawyer will determine whether you are eligible to file for a child custody modification and if so, work with you to draft and file the petition.
Work with an Experienced Colorado Family Lawyer
Asserting your rights in family court is much easier and typically, more successful when you work with an experienced Lakewood divorce attorney. To get started with a member of our team at Divorce Matters, contact our office to set up your initial legal consultation with us.