There's a common misconception that divorce orders are the final word in all matters related to the end of a marriage. It is true that the asset division process is usually set in stone after a divorce (barring evidence of hidden assets uncovered after the fact). The same is not true for child custody and support orders. The courts can and often do revisit child custody orders, as well as spousal support and child support orders.
The ability to request a modification protects both the needs of the parents and the best interests of the children after a divorce. Flexibility in these matters can benefit everyone involved. Whether you share custody or your ex has sole custody now, a modification may be possible. If your situation has changed and you think it could impact your custody order, it may be a smart move to pursue a modification.
Life situations change, and so can your custody order
There are an infinite number of reasons why people seek to adjust custody orders after a divorce. Perhaps the mental or physical health of one parent declined, making it harder for him or her to fulfill parental obligations. Maybe one parent develops or completes treatment for substance abuse issues. Sometimes, one parent attempts to isolate or alienate the other from the children. The parent with primary custody could accept a job in another state, but the children want to stay behind.
All of these scenarios and many more could lead one or both divorced parents to request a modification from the courts. As with the initial divorce custody proceedings, any modification hearing will focus on the best interests of the children. Some parents choose to file on their own behalf. This is fine if you and your ex agree on the modification terms. If not, you should prepare yourself for court with evidence and documentation supporting your request.
Asking for more time with your children is your right
Many times, people are at their worst during a divorce. Problematic habits, like hitting a bar after work, could impact how the courts allocate parental responsibilities in a Colorado divorce. If you have since taken steps to address any substance abuse, parenting or mental health issues, that effort could convince the courts to let you play a bigger role in the life of your children.
Generally speaking, the courts want to encourage healthy ongoing relationships with both parents. Submitting a child custody modification asking to share custody with your ex or increase your visitation and parenting time is a great way to keep the bond with your children strong.
In cases that involve the other spouse mistreating, neglecting or alienating the children, the courts may even consider awarding the non-custodial parent primary custody. Every situation is unique, but seeking more time with your children is almost always a good decision.