Modifying Decision Making In Colorado

 

“About Modifying Decision Making In Colorado”

 

CRS §14-10-131 outlines the standard in Colorado to modify existing decision-making orders, which is generally the “best interests” standard of CRS §14-10-124; however, there are again many nuances, traps and pitfalls in a confusing, critical, and often litigated arena of modifying decision-making.

It’s important to note that any evaluation of a decision-making modification starts with the current decision-making Order.  Too often parties try to settle their case without attorneys and give up joint decision-making (if the children are old enough and it is developmentally-appropriate) and later find themselves significantly prejudiced.  The underlying concept in this area is the change in circumstances and endangerment.

The typical situations where this is applicable are:

  • One parent refuses to agree to send child to therapist
  • One parent refuses to agree to send child to doctor
  • Parents disagree on what school to send child

 

The Court will not choose for the parents but they will allocate Sole Decision-Making.

Alternatives to seeking sole decision-making include using a mediator/arbitrator who will rule on the dispute and the ruling is binding on the parties.  Another option is to have a “Decision-Maker” appointed to your case.

 

Speak With Colorado Family Lawyers For Modification: (303) 990-5308

 

Modifying Decision-Making

Generally speaking, the Court may Order any parenting time that is in the child’s best interests under CRS §14-10-124(1.5)(a).  A change will be ordered if the Court finds that retaining the current allocation of decision-making endangers the child’s physical health or significantly impairs the child’s emotional development.

 

The Law

14-10-131. Modification of custody or decision-making responsibility

(1) If a motion for modification of a custody decree or a decree allocating decision-making responsibility has been filed, whether or not it was granted, no subsequent motion may be filed within two years after disposition of the prior motion unless the court decides, on the basis of affidavits, that there is reason to believe that a continuation of the prior decree of custody or order allocating decision-making responsibility may endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.

(2) The court shall not modify a custody decree or a decree allocating decision-making responsibility unless it finds, upon the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the court at the time of the prior decree, 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. In applying these standards, the court shall retain the allocation of decision-making responsibility established by the prior decree unless:

(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.

 

Speak With Colorado Family Lawyers For Modification: (303) 990-5308