Danielsen Westhoff, PC

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When child custody and support orders aren't working, modify

Following the finalization of your divorce, the terms of your support and custody agreements seemed to be working well for a while. Now, however, things have changed, and you believe that it is time to revisit the terms of your child custody and support orders. Thankfully, under the right circumstances, you can seek to modify these agreements.

The state of Colorado understands that nothing in life is sure. Life changes warrant the need for custody and support modifications. If you wish to pursue either or both, you may, but you need to have a good reason for doing so.

When the court might say yes

Not all custody and support modifications requests receive approval. When a modification case is filed, both parents will have the opportunity to present their arguments for or against the adjustment. A judge may agree and order the modification request if:

  • The current order places the affected child in danger
  • The newly proposed plan would be a positive change for the child
  • One party needs to relocate
  • The current support order is not enough
  • The support paying parent can no longer meet his or her obligation

At the end of the day, the court will look at what will serve the best interests of the child before deciding to accept or reject a modification request.

When the court will say no

Some try to use the system to hurt their former spouses. The court will not approve a modification request if there is a reason to believe that the request has been made in bad faith. Again, the best interests of the child is what matters in modification cases, not parental wishes.

Do children ever get a say?

When it comes to child support, no, children do not get a say in how much they need. That is something the state, courts and parents have to work out. When it comes to child custody, the court may consider a child's wishes when he or she reaches his or her teenage years. May is the keyword here. A child can offer his or her opinion, but the court can still refuse a child's request if it believes it is best to do so.

Is going to court really necessary to settle modification requests?

Not necessarily. Some parents can negotiate new terms with the assistance of legal counsel. The new terms do have to be sent to court for a final sign off before they become official.

If you believe your child custody and support orders need changing, it is okay to speak up. With help, you can seek new terms that better suit your family's needs.

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