Changing child custody orders might be necessary as your child's needs change or other circumstances shift. You must understand some basic points and make a plan accordingly, whether you are seeking the modification or if your ex files the petition.
#1: Verify the suitability of a modification petition
Colorado's laws provide specific reasons for a parent to file a modification petition in child custody or support cases. These include a significant change in income, such as a raise or the loss of a job. They also include changes in circumstances, such as parental moves or changes in a child's care needs.
You must file the petition quickly. This is especially important if the modification is for support and based on a job loss. You still must pay child support as ordered, even if you lose your job. A modification is the only way to change this. Still, you must take the time to verify that the petition is based on a valid reason.
#2: Gather proofs necessary
You must show the court why the modification is necessary. Gather any documents that you need to prove your case. A petition to move with your child may require proof of a job offer in another place that would significantly improve your child's life. A petition for a reduction or increase in child support requires proof of the income change.
#3: Be willing to negotiate
Mediation might be useful to resolve child custody and support modification petitions. The new agreement must comply with applicable laws. Typically, it is faster for you and your ex-husband to come to an agreement and then present it to the court. The alternative is to wait for a trial date with the court, which can take a while if the court is busy.
#4: Keep your child's best interests first
Just like in the first child custody and support case, your child's best interests are the primary factor in the modification case. You must keep what is best for your child at the center of the case. This is difficult in some cases, such as parental relocation. Thinking about how the new job will benefit you might cloud your judgment about how it might impact your child.
Even if you and your ex come to an agreement, you will still have to get the court's approval for the change. The court will consider the how the modification impacts your child. Be sure to plan accordingly.