By: Sarah T. McCain
With the myriad of potential new client interactions I have engaged in over the last decade, one of the most often asked requests is “I want to change custody.” But what does that really mean? What does it look like? Generally, people are referring to wanting to change the primary residence of their children from the other parent to themselves. Denver child custody lawyers know that from a statutory standpoint, this is a feat easier said than done. To change primary residential custody, circumstances must be just right.
Modifications of parenting time (visitation) and residence in Colorado are covered under Colorado Revised Statute, 14-10-129. Subsection (2) deals with changes in residence of a child. There are specific circumstances under which primary residence can be changed, the easiest of which being the parents agreeing to make the change. If primary residence is changed via agreement it is advisable to memorialize the change via a written stipulation (agreement) filed with the court. That stipulation should set forth specific terms. If you are the parent giving up primary residence you have the opportunity to make sure you get orders as favorable as possible to you tied into your parenting time and perhaps child support. You are making a huge concession giving up your primary residential status and, thus, have a certain degree of bargaining power. If you are the parent who will be taking primary residential control of the child you should ask to put things into a stipulation memorializing the new arrangement. If the other parent resists, don’t push. Get the child into your home first and establish a track record, maybe even a month or two. If by that point the other parent is still unwilling to sign off on an agreement you might start thinking about filing a motion to modify on your own. Continue reading