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Emergency And Child Endangerment

If one parent thinks that the other parent is emotionally or physically endangering their children, he or she can file an Emergency Motion to Restrict Parenting Time under Colorado law. This is a serious action to take, and any parent who is considering filing such a motion or who has one filed against them should speak to a family attorney for assistance as soon as possible. Child endangerment is a very emotional area of  family law, and an experienced family law attorney can help parents navigate this complex system.

How the Process Works

This motion, available from the Colorado Court system, needs to be completed and filed with the court. Once filed, it is usually addressed within 24 hours. If the court grants the motion, the parent whom the order is against will automatically have their parenting time restricted until there is a hearing. This means he or she can only visit  the children with supervision from a third party, often a licensed mental health professional, or a neutral third party who is approved by the court. 

After the motion has been granted, the hearing will be held within 14 days of the motion being filed, as required under state law. During this hearing, the court will decide whether to restrict the parenting time for longer, put less restrictions on that parent’s parenting time, or deny the motion altogether. With so much on the line, having experienced legal representation is critical. Your family law attorney will review the case and help you protect your rights and the rights of your child.

Child Endangerment Standards in Colorado

The parent who is filing the motion must prove that his or her child is in imminent emotional or physical danger when the child visits or has contact with the other parent. “Imminent” in this case means something that has happened very recently and not years ago; the threat to the child must be current and not in the past. A family law attorney can review the facts to make sure the case is solid before filing, and at the related hearings.

When it comes to what constitutes “physical or emotional danger,” the laws do not provide much guidance, which makes retaining an attorney all the more crucial. The court has a lot of discretion when deciding whether a particular action or lack of action is serious enough to be viewed as putting a child in emotional or physical danger. While there is no single guaranteed way every motion will go, judges are generally hesitant to grant this type of motion because every parent has the right to parent his or her children, and this order will limit that right. There have also been cases where one parent has abused this process to restrict the other parent’s parenting time for no solid reason, so the court will evaluate these motions with a very close eye. Speak to an experienced family law attorney about any concerns you have regarding the specifics of your family endangerment case.

A Solid Case is Necessary

A parent who wants to file a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time must have sufficient evidence to do so. If the court denies the motion outright, the parent who filed will lose credibility with the court. If the court grants the motion initially but denies it after the hearing, the parent who filed may still lose some credibility in court. The laws even provide for the filing parent to pay the costs and attorney fees of the other parent related to the motion should the court find the filing was groundless, frivolous or done out of spite. This is why it’s so important to consult with a family law attorney about your case. In some situations, courts have even changed the parenting time schedule because a parent filed a groundless child endangerment case.

Should a parent have serious concerns about parenting time that do not increase to the level required for endangerment, he or she can file a motion to modify the parenting agreement instead. Contact a top rated family law attorney at Burnham Law  if you want to change the parenting time schedule you currently have.

The experienced family law team at Burnham Law is ready to help you with your child endangerment case. With something as serious as parenting time or your child’s safety on the line, you cannot afford to take any chances.

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Partner - Client Development

Colorado Springs

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