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How will the courts try to settle a parenting time dispute?

Couples in Colorado who have ended their relationship will often have issues with one another after the marriage or relationship has concluded. If they have children, this can cause many different problems. One common reason for there to be a dispute is if the couple cannot get on the same page regarding visitation rights, also referred to as parenting time. When a parent is not adhering to the order, it is important to understand how state law addresses these situations.

After 35 days of a motion being filed, or if the court files a motion on its own if a parent refuses to comply to the parenting time order or a visitation schedule, the court will say what sanctions it might impose. It will then assess the motion and its response if the failure to comply continues. Once it has done that, it will: issue a denial to the motion if the allegation is inadequate; schedule a hearing with the parents being informed of where and when it will be held; order the parties to go for mediation and then inform the court of the results within 63 days. If the parents can come to an agreement, the court can approve it. If they cannot, then there will be a hearing scheduled.

Post-hearing, if there is still a lack of compliance or violation of the court order, the court can: add other terms and conditions consistent with the prior order and in the child's best interests; modify the prior order to serve the child's best interests; order one or both parents to take part in a parental education course; order family counseling to be paid for by the non-complying parent; order the parent who is not complying to post a bond to encourage compliance; or order there to be parenting time with certain conditions.

Visitation is a common issue in dispute for parents, so it is important to understand how the courts will try to settle these matters without them getting too far out of control. The main goal is to serve the best interests of the child. Parents who are in dispute should know that an ongoing battle does not do that. The parents will inevitably believe they are justified in their behaviors and these matters can be hard to settle. Before making a mistake that can cause more problems, it is important to speak to a legal professional experienced in parenting time.

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