How Do I Get Emergency Child Custody?

Changing a child custody arrangement can be a long and complicated process. But what if there is an emergency and you need custody of your child right away? Luckily, there are specific child custody laws in place for this exact scenario. Before we get into how to get emergency child custody, it is important to know what it is.

Emergency Child Custody

Filing a motion for emergency child custody allows a court to act immediately to suspend all unsupervised parenting time. There are a few restrictions, however. The court can only grant emergency child custody if your child is being put in danger by their other parent. This endangerment can be emotional or physical. Some examples are physical abuse, sexual abuse, excessive drinking or drug use around your child, mental health concerns for the parent, domestic violence, or even neglect. In addition, if your child’s other parent isn’t necessarily the one endangering your child, emergency custody can still be granted. If your child’s other parent has friends or a significant other who endanger your child, this falls under child endangerment on behalf of the parent.

How do I get emergency child custody?

To start the process of getting emergency child custody, you would first have to file a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time with the court. Once you have filed your motion, the court will immediately order that all contact between the parent and child be monitored by a third party. The court will then schedule a hearing in the next 14 days to review the motion. At the hearing, both parents will be allowed to present any evidence they have regarding the endangerment of the child. This can include pictures, emails or texts, and any people who have witnessed the endangerment or lack thereof. The court will then make a ruling on the motion. The judge will either deny the motion, continue the restrictions put in place when the motion was filed, or change the restrictions to be less strict or stricter.

It is important to note that there are penalties for wrongful accusations, including, but not limited to, paying legal fees for the other side. It is vital that you do not file a motion like this out of spite. To avoid this, it is helpful to consult an attorney to make sure that what you are claiming is substantiated. A Divorce Matters attorney can also help you navigate the entire process with ease and expertise.

New School Year, New Routine

It’s that time of year when school is right around the corner and your children are gearing up for the new year. This can be a particularly difficult time of year if you are going through or have been through divorce. Here are a few quick tips on how to keep everything running smoothly for your children as they adjust to their new schedules after a summer of freedom.

  • Try to tell your child’s guidance counselor and teachers what is going on. This will allow them to understand your child’s behavior if they begin to exhibit signs of mood changes and behavioral issues. No need to overshare here, just let them know what is happening.
  • Consistency is incredibly important, especially for younger children, so make sure that you stick to the custody plan in place. Communication will be key for smooth drop-offs and pick-ups so make sure you have a reliable means of communicating in a way that doesn’t cause misunderstandings.
  • Routine is healthy for children, it keeps their days structured and teaches them responsibility. Try to keep their evening routines as consistent as possible between households. Things such as bedtime, brushing their teeth, cleaning their room and regular dinners are all a part of their routine and consistency will help them feel like their days are structured and under control no matter which house they are staying at that day.

These are just a few quick tips to help you as the new school year approaches and your child’s schedule gears up to change. Don’t forget to tell your children to enjoy the last bit of summer while they can!

What to Do When You Kid Chooses Your Ex

Divorce is full of heartbreak and stress, especially when kids are involved. But even when a divorce is long since passed, there are still some words that can shatter a parent’s world. Perhaps one of the worst things a parent can hear from his or her child is that the child wants to move in with the other parent.

This usually happens during adolescence. The kid always has reasons ”“ maybe they have more friends over at Dad’s house, or maybe Mom has more money. It could be a simple matter of “the grass is always greener” syndrome. No matter the reason, those words can lead to feelings of rejection and abandonment. They can make a parent question what they did wrong as a parent, or why the kid prefers to be at the other house.

If your kid has expressed a desire to move in with the other parent, try not to let your emotions get the best of you.

  • As with any matter involving separation or divorce, do not use this as an opportunity to bash your ex. Your child should never be put into a position where they have to choose sides, and badmouthing your ex can actually paint you in a negative light.
  • Discuss changes in visitation (parenting time, as we call it in Colorado) with your attorney. If parental rights have already been established in court, you will have to reconsider the current parenting arrangement.
  • As heartbreaking as it might be for you, respect your child’s decisions. Your job as a parent is to provide a supportive and positive environment for your child, even if that means letting go.
  • These days, it is incredibly easy to remain in meaningful contact with your child, even if they are far away. Apps like Skype and Facetime can allow you to chat with your child face to face, even from halfway across the world. Call often and make an effort to stick to your visitation. Your child still needs you, even if you are not the primary custodian.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys

4 Signs Your Child is Struggling with Your Divorce

Kids are incredibly strong-willed, but divorce can hit them hard. Especially in younger kids, divorce is a very confusing thing and it can be hard to understand. And with all of the stresses that come from divorce, sometimes parents will miss some key signs that their kids are struggling. If you notice any of the following behaviors in your kids, you should take steps to make sure your kids are okay:

  • If you notice that your child’s grades are slipping, this is a sure sign that the divorce is distracting him or her from learning. To remedy this, you can schedule a conference with both your child and his or her teacher. Helping the teacher understand the reason for your child’s struggles can lead to accommodations that can help keep your child focused and productive, and having the child along shows the child that you care about his or her education and are willing to work closely with all involved parties to ensure that they do well in school.
  • Keep watch over your child’s relationship with his or her siblings, especially older ones. Because kids can react so differently to divorce, ignoring the interactions between your children can cause a lot of problems. Children might take sides; this behavior should be discouraged. Additionally, be wary about giving older children too much jurisdiction over the younger ones. Remember, you are the parent ”“ it is fine to give the kids extra housework to pick up the slack, but you should not have your older children take on a parenting role.
  • Keep watch over what the kids do in their free time. Younger children may need extra support during play time; school children might engage in destructive behavior like violence toward classmates on the playground, or stealing. Adolescents may exhibit delinquent behavior (truancy, for example) or become antisocial.
  • In older children especially, be wary of dramatic changes in the child’s outlook. Depression and low self-esteem can seriously lower your child’s quality of life. This depression can lead to destructive behaviors, such as smoking or drug and alcohol use.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys

Tips for Creating a Child Visitation Schedule

One key way of reducing the potential for conflict when it comes to a child custody situation is penning a visitation schedule that works for both parents as well as the child. A stable schedule can help parents and children avoid confusion about who has custody and when.

The most basic visitation schedule is the repeating cycle. For many parents, this will involve one parent having custody during the week when the child is in school and the other parent having custody on weekends. Depending on the distance between the two homes, this schedule is very flexible. The benefit of a repeating schedule is the ability to plan events and vacations far in advance without the headache of renegotiating custody.

Holidays, Special Occasions and Vacations

A consideration you will have to make when defining a visitation schedule is holidays. You should plan these far in advance and look to both work schedules and your child’s school schedule to determine the most appropriate arrangement. Depending on what days the holidays fall on as well as whether the parents are members of different religions can make this step a bit more complicated, which is why planning far in advance is the best course of action.

The next consideration to make is vacation time and special occasions. Birthdays, graduations and leaving the country are all times you should add to your calendar. With things like birthdays and graduation, it is easy to plan in advance, so you should do so; vacations, on the other hand, can be more impromptu. You must discuss these with your spouse before you finalize plans to ensure that a satisfactory custody arrangement can be made. If you wish to take your children for a week’s vacation in the Bahamas, you should be willing to concede a week to your ex as well; compromise is key to ensuring that a visitation schedule is best for the kids.

The common theme in these considerations is planning ahead. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry; because of this, you should always be willing to listen to your ex and work together to create the best possible schedule.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys

How to Handle Visitation with Teenagers

When your child reaches adolescence, you might find that the terms of visitation you worked out while he or she was younger no longer work in the child’s interest. If your divorce is recent and you already have teenagers, the prospect of working out a schedule that allows you, your ex and your child’s lives to balance can be daunting.

When plotting a visitation schedule for teens, you have to take into account what your teen wants. Teens have to balance time between friends, school, sports and other extracurriculars, dating and work. If your visitation schedule precludes any of these things, in all likelihood you will be met with resentment on top of the already monumental task of raising teens.

This time can be especially difficult for a non-custodial parent. Teen schedules can be hectic; school from morning to afternoon, extracurriculars until 5pm, work even later. Because the non-custodial parent has limited time, it is important to set up some minimum time per month with the non-custodial parent.

If your teen has some event during your visitation time ”“ a dance, for example, on a Saturday night when you have custody ”“ don’t tell the teen they can’t attend because you want to see them. Take them to the dance yourself, and pick them up ”“ be flexible, and spend what time you can with them.

During this period of independence and self-realization, it is still important that you see your teen, and your teen will appreciate your willingness to compromise to allow him or her to pursue his or her own growth.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys

Co-Parenting during Special Occasions

All too often, the idea of a shared event in a child’s life ”“ for example, a birthday or a graduation ”“ can bring anxiety to divorced parents when they realize they will have to see their exes at the occasion. No doubt you want to be present for your child’s achievement, and the child benefits from the affirmation of both parents attending. But the logistics of the visit can be harsh, especially if you do not see eye to eye with your ex.

When tensions are high between you and your ex, there are constructive ways of dealing with it that can help prevent a flare up between the two of you. One way is by creating buffers ”“ arriving early to find separate seating, for example, or inviting friends and family to dissipate the negative atmosphere. This limited contact can keep animosity out of the picture so that both you and your ex can do what you are supposed to ”“ support and recognize your child’s achievements.

If you plan on celebrating post-event and your ex will be present, do your best to maintain a low key attitude toward your ex. Light conversation and focusing on the child will help keep your issues with your ex under wraps ”“ this is definitely not a time to discuss child support or other divorce-related contentions. This is another place where having other friends and relatives present can help ”“ if you can keep your child talking, you can avoid awkwardness with your ex.

You could also consider holding celebrations separately. Graduation parties, for example, can be held on different days with different sides of the family.

No matter what, these days are not about you or your ex. They are about your child. Placing your focus on him or her is the easiest way to avoid conflict.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys

Making the Most of Non-custodial Parenting

Being the non-custodial parent can be challenging. It is a drastic change from spending your day-to-day life with your child to limited visits, and coping with this shift can be frustrating. However, just because you no longer get to spend as much time with your child does not mean you cannot still be an important part of the child’s life.

There are lots of parents in your shoes, so we’ve compiled some advice from non-custodial parents to help ease the transition for you.

Understand and exercise your rights as the non-custodial parent. Make sure that you’ve made time to visit when you are allowed. If you are able to speak on the phone or text message each other, take advantage of that. Do you have access to school and medical records? Use that access! Keeping close tabs on your child allows you to be involved in his or her day-to-day life while also providing you useful information if, in the future, you decide to modify the custody agreement.

Work with the other parent. Do not harbor resentment for your ex, even if you feel like the custody situation is his or her fault. The easier you make the change for the other parent, the more accommodating he or she will be to you when you want time with your child. Co-parenting is not only best for you and your ex, but for the child as well.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with your situation, focus on what is right. Spending time with your child should be a happy, memorable experience, and as long as you keep a positive outlook and make sure that you fully utilize your time together, the memories you make will overshadow any negativity you might feel toward being the non-custodial parent.

The transition will be difficult, but if you handle it correctly, being the non-custodial parent should not serve as a detriment to your relationship with your child. If your custody arrangement still proves unsatisfactory, though, you can always speak to a family law attorney about custody modification.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys