Legal Information: Colorado


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September 13, 2018

If an allocation of parental responsibilities order is already in place, how can I get it changed?

Because allocation of parental responsibilities is decided based on what is in the best interest of the child, an order can generally be changed.  If you have an allocation of parental responsibilities order already in place, you can petition the court to modify (change) it and a judge may do so if the modification would serve the best interests of the child.1

Generally, the judge will not change an order concerning parenting time that substantially changes the parenting time as well as changes the party with whom the child lives a majority of the time unless:

  • there are new facts that have come up since the prior order that the judge did not know about;
  • a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or the party with whom the child lives the majority of the time; and
  • the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.2

Evidence of abuse, a criminal conviction for certain crimes (even if committed in another state or jurisdiction), or domestic violence will most likely be considered a new fact or change in circumstance.3  To read more about CO’s modification law, including information about filing to relocate to another state with your child, go to our CO Statutes page.

If you believe that your child is in immediate physical or emotional danger because of the other parent’s contact or parenting time with the child, you may file a motion to restrict his/her parenting time or contact with the child.  The judge will hold a hearing to decide your motion within 7 days.  During those 7 days, any parenting time that the other parent has with your child must be supervised by an unrelated third party who has been approved by the judge.4  Note: If the judge finds that your motion to restrict parenting time was frivolous, groundless or intended only to annoy the other parent harm, the judge will order you to pay the other parent’s attorney fees and costs.5

To modify an allocation of parental responsibilities order, you will generally need to go to the court that issued the order, even if you have moved.  Generally, once a court has jurisdiction, that court will keep jurisdiction, even if you move to another state.  If you have moved, you can ask the court to change the jurisdiction to the new state that you are in.  This is often complicated, and as with all allocation of parental responsibilities issues, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about this.  Go to the CO Finding a Lawyer page to find someone who can help you.

1 C.R.S. § 14-10-129(1)(a)(I); see generally, C.R.S. § 14-10-129
2 C.R.S. § 14-10-129(2)
3 C.R.S. § 14-10-129(3)
4 C.R.S. § 14-10-129(4)
5 C.R.S. § 14-10-129(5)