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Fort Collins Child Relocation Lawyer

When parents are sharing custody of a child and one parent decides to move, it can become a confusing, wearisome process. In Colorado, only a majority parent or a parent who shares an equal parenting time schedule can start a relocation custody action against the parent who’s moving. The minority parent may not bring a relocation action. Instead, he or she would bring a child custody modification action, which applies very different standards than those used in a relocation case.

If you are the primary parent or share equal parenting time and would like to relocate with your child, it is important that you consult with our Fort Collins child relocation lawyer well in advance of your planned move. The court does not have the power to prevent a parent from relocating. However, the court’s power can prevent the child from relocating away from the other parent.

Trust Our Child Custody Relocation Lawyer With Your Case

Relocation trials represent highly complex situations. It is important to hire a competent child custody relocation lawyer who knows the ins and outs of relocation proceedings. Whether you are planning to move with your child, or your ex-spouse or ex-partner is wanting to move your child farther from you, we can help.

Contact The Cossitt Law Firm today at 970-488-1887 for a consultation.

Relocation Process with Joint Parental Responsibility

Colorado does not use the terms “joint custody” and “sole custody” for discussing child custody. Instead, it uses the term “parental responsibility” to describe custody.

  • Joint parental responsibility: When both parents at least roughly equally share overnight visitation with the child, the court considers them to have joint parental responsibility.
  • Primary parental responsibility: When one parent has fewer than 90 days of overnight visitation with the child, the court considers the other parent to have primary parental responsibility.

Creating a Child Relocation Agreement

The standard for a relocation proceeding can vary, depending on whether it occurs during the initial decree or post-decree phase. A “decree” in a family law case is an order issued by a judge. These items simply mean:

  • Initial decree: This applies to the initial decision the court makes regarding setting up parental responsibilities. If one parent is in the process of moving in-state at the time of the setting of the initial decree, the court frequently treats the situation as if the parent is already in the new location.
  • Post-decree: If the court is applying additional standards after the initial decree, these are post-decree actions. When one parent wants to relocate during the post-decree phase, the court then wants extra information to understand why the parent is moving. After receiving the extra information, the court can make an assessment.

Because the court already set up parenting time and other responsibilities for the parents in the post-decree phase, its original decisions will need modification. This explains the need for additional information. If the decision to relocate occurs during the initial decree phase, the court does not yet have parenting time established. This simplifies the process of making a relocation decision. Our child custody relocation lawyer is ready to help with this process, no matter whether the matter is in the initial phase or the post-decree phase.

Seek Help From Our Fort Collins Child Relocation Lawyer for Custody Modification Hearings

When the parents have joint parental responsibility and one parent wants to move, it’s possible that the court will consider altering the custody order. The court considers a change to custody orders only when the situation will entail a significant change to the circumstances for the child’s life. In other words, when one parent is moving across town or to a nearby rural area, the court probably won’t consider redoing the custody order.

However, if one parent wants to move from one side of the state to the other, the court is more likely to consider a new arrangement regarding custody. Such a move may cause hardship for the remaining parent to be able to receive the visitation rights he or she should have per the custody agreement. If you have concerns regarding how your relationship with your child will change when your ex-spouse is planning a long-distance relocation, our Fort Collins relocation lawyer is ready to stand by your side during the process.

Understanding How the Best Interests of the Child Apply

It is important to note that in all matters concerning parental responsibilities and parenting time, whether they are pre- or post-decree, the best interests of the child represent the primary consideration of the court. According to Colorado statute § 14-10-124, some of the factors that represent the best interests of the child as they pertain to a parent’s relocating will include:

  • The reasons for the requested relocation
  • The reasons the other party objects to the relocation
  • The quality of the relationship between the child and each of the parents
  • The educational systems and prospects for the child in the current home versus the suggested new home
  • Whether extended family lives near the current home
  • Whether there will be family close by in the new location
  • How the move will impact the child
  • Whether quality parenting time visits are possible for the other parent.

Relocating with a child when you share custody with the other parent can have a profound impact on the lives of the parents and the child involved. The courts will not take a relocation case lightly. For this reason, it is important to consult with our child relocation attorney in Fort Collins. We have proven experience with child relocation laws and cases.

Changing Parenting Time Orders

Formerly known as child visitation, Colorado’s parenting time rules outline the schedule and conditions under which each parent may see the children. The decision making rules define how major decisions for the children occur, including those relating to the child’s health and education. Modifying child custody orders can be necessary if or when either parent …

  • Is moving to a new residence (like in another city, county or state)
  • Is changing jobs or careers and will have a substantially different work schedule
  • Is facing a serious health ailment
  • Is remarrying or is having more children
  • Is a threat or risk to a child’s safety, health, or well-being.

Our Child Relocation Attorney in Fort Collins Will Fight for Your Rights

If your child’s other parent is attempting to make a long-distance move within Colorado, we will represent you in a hearing to consider whether a new order has merit.

According to Colorado state statute § 14-10-124, the court is more likely to consider a modification to the parenting-time agreement when the move “substantially changes the geographical ties” between the child and the parent who is not moving. State law does not define an exact distance or a set of locations as an example of what would fit the definition of a change in geographical ties. This means it’s up to our team representing you to try to convince the court that your ex-spouse’s plans to move match the intended meaning in the state statute regarding distance and location.

Important Considerations When a Child Will Relocate

When it’s time for the court to consider the request to relocate the child a great distance in-state, our team will make sure your ex-spouse produces truthful information for the court’s consideration. Some of the specific information the court will want to know about the new location your ex-spouse plans to move to include:

  • Quality of schools in the area
  • Safety of the community
  • Cultural activities available
  • Ability to continue extra-curricular activities in the new location, such as sports, music lessons, or club participation
  • Religious opportunities.

In the state of Colorado, where the Rocky Mountains divide the state, even a move over a relatively short distance that involves travel across the mountains could fit within the intent of the law. Wintertime travel can be difficult through the Rockies, meaning one parent may miss out on custody time because of inclement weather. The court may take this possibility into account.

Let Us Help With All Aspects of Relocation Challenges

When a parent wants to move with a child, he or she should file a motion to relocate as soon as possible. Child relocation cases in Colorado receive prioritization on the court’s docket. However, they still can take months to move through the court system. The Cossitt Law Firm knows how stressful this process can be. Whether you’re looking to move with the child, or you’re worried about your child’s moving farther away from you in Colorado, our Fort Collins child relocation lawyer is ready to help. Call us at 970-488-1887 as soon as possible for a consultation.

Dealing With Relocation During the Holidays

Sharing your children with their other parent can be challenging around the holidays, especially immediately after a move across the state. However, when a skilled attorney crafts a holiday parenting time schedule, this can reduce or avoid conflicts. This gives the parents and children the clarity and flexibility needed to meet the parents’ goals.

We Can Help with Parenting Time Schedule Changes

The parenting time schedule may change based on the needs of the child after the move. A long-distance parenting plan will address custody with the child at both locations, how travel should occur, telephone and video contact, and much more.

Understanding Colorado’s Child Prevention Abduction Act

Colorado’s Child Prevention Abduction Act defines child abduction as the wrongful removal or wrongful retention of any minor child that violates the rights of custody. The act can involve the allocation of parental responsibility, custody, or parenting time as well. Anyone potentially can violate this act, including a parent. If your ex-spouse or ex-partner undertakes a move across the state without telling you, without receiving court approval, or in violation of court orders, we can help make sure the court enforces this child abduction law.

Child Custody After Moving to Colorado From Another State

If you recently relocated to Colorado after a divorce in another state, you may be able to transfer your divorce case to Colorado. After your relocation to Colorado, we can help with things like modification of maintenance and enforcement of your court orders. We even can help to address issues related to any child custody orders, such as modifying parenting time or child support.

How Child Support Changes With Relocation

When making a determination about child support, a judge takes into account the incomes of the parents and the scheduled number of overnights. Often when a parent relocates with the child, the number of scheduled overnights may change. This means a modification of child support may be necessary.

Dealing With Out-of-State Child Relocation Laws

Relocating out of state with a child when you share custody with the other parent can have a profound impact on the lives of the parents and the child involved. The courts will not take a relocation case lightly. Moving out of state potentially involves a different process than what occurs when the relocation occurs within Colorado.

If your case involves moving out of Colorado, it is important to consult with a family law attorney who has proven experience with out-of-state child relocation agreement cases.

Contact Our Fort Collins Child Relocation Lawyer

At The Cossitt Law Firm we practice exclusively in family law. As a trustworthy Fort Collins child relocation lawyer, we have extensive experience in all aspects of relocation. Our child relocation attorney deals with both in-state and out-of-state relocations.

We have skill in representing parents who want to move with their children. We create long-distance parenting plans on a regular basis. If you need to move with your child, we can help you craft a plan that will satisfy the court. Should your ex-spouse or ex-partner want to move with your child, we can defend your rights to maintain the relationship you should have with the child. We will walk you through each step of your child relocation case.

Call us today at 970-488-1887 to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.


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Fort Collins Divorce & Child Support Attorneys

Tom Cossitt

Tom Cossitt, Esq.

Family Law
Suzanne Ewy

Suzanne Ewy, Esq.

Family Law
Carla Jaquess

Carla Jaquess, Esq.

Family Law
Attorney Lisa Vigil

Lisa Vigil, Esq.

Family Law
Jenna Hardesty

Jenna Hardesty, Paralegal

Family Law

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