Child Custody and Modification

In a Colorado divorce, child custody issues can take many forms. Whatever the issue is, I always treat the case with the same care since I understand that there is no relationship as important as that of a parent and their child. I am ready to fight to protect the rights of the Father or Mother, but always with the greatest emphasis on what is best for the children in question. At the Law Offices of Shawn H. Smith I can help you with your child custody issues, and I have the skills and experience you need on your side.

Petition Seeking Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: You may be dealing with the initial dissolution of your marriage, and trying to come to an agreement on the terms of visitation for your children. In this situation, the allocation of parental rights and parenting time are treated as part of the dissolution process. In the case of unwed parents, however, a stand-alone petition seeking the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities may be filed. Prior to any Colorado court determining parental rights between parents, it must first be clearly established who the parents are. If the parties are married, it is presumed that the parties are the children’s parents. If you are unwed parents, there are several ways to establish paternity. These include, but are not limited to: genetic testing, taking of the child into one’s household and holding the child out to be your own, or through a written declaration of paternity.

It is important to remember that in Colorado Family Law, the term “custody” has been replaced with “parental responsibilities” and the term “visitation” has been replaced with “Parenting time”. One way to look at the difference between parental responsibilities and parenting time is that the former deals with decision making and the later deals with exactly what it sounds like- actual time with the child. In other words, it can be the case that one parent can have sole decision-making responsibility, but the time with the child can be divided equally (though a more equal distribution is more common). The standard for these types of decisions is always the child’s best interest. Courts take many different factors into account when determining what is in the child’s best interest, and it is very important that you have a lawyer who is capable of pleading your case to the court in such a way that your side of the story is clear and understandable. You need competent representation on your side to ensure that your rights and the rights of your children are protected, and at the Law Offices of Shawn H. Smith I am confident that I can help you. Call me today for your free consultation to answer your questions about Parental Responsibilities and Parenting time.

Child Custody Modification: There are many reasons why you would need to modify the child custody portion of your divorce decree. Perhaps you are trying to move to another town for a job and you need to alter the parenting plan to allow for your children to go with you. Perhaps there is something about the current situation your children are in that is endangering their mental or physical health or development and you feel the need to do something about it. Whatever the situation may be, you will need a skilled and experienced attorney to navigate the complex statutory and jurisdictional issues that may arise when attempting to alter the original divorce decree. Please call me today for your free consultation. I am ready to answer your questions and I am available nights and weekends for your convenience.

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