As your child’s parents, you and your ex play two of the most important roles in your child’s life. This can be a good thing, but it can also be traumatic and harmful if your child is exposed to dangerous activities. If your child’s parent engages in a dangerous activity, a family law attorney with Johnson Law Group can explain your legal options. Consider contacting us at (720) 445-4444 to determine which path to take to protect your child.
Colorado law does not use the term “child custody.” Instead, it uses the term “parental responsibility,” which means the time that your child physically spends with each parent and “decision-making,” which is the right to make important decisions that affect your child. Either form of custody can be joint or primary.
Colorado law requires family courts to consider what is in the child’s best interest when making decisions regarding parental responsibility. The courts do this by weighing all relevant factors, which may include:
There are various dangerous activities that a parent may engage in that could put their child in danger, including:
Under C.R.S. 14-10-129, a parent or guardian can object to parenting time with a parent who has been convicted of any of the following crimes:
A parent who abuses drugs or alcohol could also pose a risk to the safety of a child in their care. These offenses will have an even greater impact on the allocation of parenting time if the child is involved, such as a parent receiving a DUI or being found in possession of drugs when their child is present.
Under C.R.S. 14-10-123.4, children have the right to live in and visit homes that are free of domestic violence, child abuse, and child neglect. The law also provides for a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has committed an act of domestic violence against the other should not have joint decision-making power. Being subject to or witnessing domestic abuse can be damaging to a child. Therefore, the court may scrutinize any case that involves such allegations.
These are just a few of the possible dangerous activities that a parent may be engaged in. If you are worried about your child’s health and safety, there are legal remedies available.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway explains common signs your child may be endangered including:
Sometimes, a child who is being neglected or abused may mimic some of their parent’s dangerous activities, such as:
If your child’s parent behaves in a dangerous activity, you may have different options available to you, depending on where you are at in the custody case.
If the other parent is currently seeking parenting time, you can object to the court.
You can ask the court to modify the parenting time order. For example, if your ex was convicted of a violent crime, you could seek to ask the court to terminate the other parent’s parenting time rights or ask for their time with your child to be suspended or supervised. To pursue this remedy, you would need to prove the parent’s behavior poses a risk to your child’s safety to justify a significant modification to their parenting time.
If your child is currently residing with the other parent or currently has access to your child that could pose a risk to their safety, you can file a motion to restrict parenting time or parental contact. This is an emergency order and is based on showing your child is in immediate physical or emotional danger because of the other parent. Your petition must contain sufficient facts and evidence to justify its filing. The court is required to conduct an emergency hearing within 14 days of the filing of the petition. Any parenting time that occurs in the interim with the alleged dangerous parent must be supervised.
If you are concerned about your child’s well-being because your child’s parent engages in a dangerous activity, consider contacting an experienced Colorado family lawyer. A lawyer can investigate your claims, gather evidence, and help fight for your desired outcome. You can reach Johnson Law Group by calling (720) 445-4444 and requesting a confidential consultation.