Child custody, legally referred to as an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, is an area of specialty at Oliver Law. Whether you are seeking to get a custody order in place for the first time, modify an existing order, or do something as complicated as moving out of state with your child, we are here to help. This week’s blog focuses on common child custody issues that our clients encounter, some general tips on how to prepare yourself, and when to seriously consider hiring an attorney.
The Other Parent Won’t Let You See Your Child
One of the most common problems encountered is when one parent refuses to let the other parent see their child. Depending on the circumstances of your case, this may be a violation that you can hold the other side accountable for, or there may not be anything you can do until you file certain motions.
Scenario #1: You have a parenting time order in place and the other parent won’t let you see your children during your parenting time.
Under this scenario you would have a reason to file a dispute with the court. If you are granted parenting time with your child and the other parent is violating the order by preventing you from having your parenting time, you can take action against them to get make up time, be compensated for attorney fees you had to spend in pursuing the action, and a number of other remedies including a finding of criminal contempt against the other parent. If you believe that you are being improperly denied parenting time it is best to take action sooner than later. Waiting can make it appear that you and the other parent had a mutual understanding not to follow the present parenting time order, and this can make it difficult to assert your rights in court.
Scenario #2: There is a parenting time order in place, but the other parent doesn’t take the children when they are supposed to.
Although we all enjoy spending time with our children, we also lead busy lives that require a certain degree of planning. When you are counting on the other parent to follow the schedule that is established and care for the children during their time it can be very disruptive when they do not do so. Not only does their failure to take care of your child impact your schedule, it also forces you to incur the additional and unanticipated costs of caring for your child more than you planned on. Aside from the relative income of each parent, child support is largely calculated by the number of overnights each parent has with the child. If the other parent is consistently failing to adhere to the parenting time order by leaving the child with you more than they are supposed to, you may have a reason to ask the court to modify the parenting time order to reflect this change and to adjust the amount of child support that is being paid.
Scenario #3: There is no parenting time order in place.
Under this scenario you need to file for custody, an action that is referred to as an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, or “APR.” This is especially critical if you believe that the other party will take your child out of state or they have threatened to do so. This is because when you file an APR AND you are able to serve the other party with the documents within the State of Colorado, an automatic injunction is issued by the court that prevents the other parent from leaving the state with your child. If the other parent violates this order there can be serious consequences, and the threat of those penalties usually keeps the other parent from leaving the state. Once the APR action is concluded and the court has determined how parenting time should be divided you will have peace of mind that you have an enforceable order against the other parent should they wrongfully deny you time with your child in the future.