Motions to Restrict Parenting Time

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In Colorado, a motion to restrict parenting time may be filed to restrict parenting time or parental contact pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-129(4). Such motions can be filed when (1) a parenting time order already exists, and (2) prior to the entry of orders as a motion to restrict parental contact. For example, a motion to restrict parental contact could be filed at the beginning of a divorce case or an allocation of parental responsiblies action.

When is it appropriate to File a Motion to Restrict? 

Whether or not to file a Motion to Restrict should be weighed with extreme caution. Such motions are filed rarely and should only be filed in an extreme circumstance where your child is in imminent danger.

Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-129(4), once the motion to restrict is filed, the other parent’s parenting time is to immediately cease. This is automatic and does not necessarily require the court to enter an order or an initial ruling on the restriction. Usually the court will review the motion and will issue an order. C.R.S. 14-10-129(4) requires that a hearing must be held in court regarding the restriction within 14 days of the motion to restrict being filed. The law recognizes that parents must be afforded an opportunity to be heard quickly when their parental rights are restricted.

The legal standard for the restriction to occur is that your child is in imminent danger of either physical or emotion harm. In the court’s view, imminent equates to immediate and the court will review such motions from whether the child is suffering harm if action is not taken immediately. If you file a motion to restrict, you will have to present evidence to the court that your child is in imminent danger. Restriction is not proper if for instance the allegation is just something that is ongoing and tied to bad parenting. 

Attorney fees and costs

If the court determines that your motion to restrict was filed with no merit or basis for the restriction, the court can assess attorney fees and costs against you. This is one of the reasons why you should be cautious when considering the filing of a motion to restrict.  It is helpful if you have third-party evidence to validate the imminent danger. 

Kalamaya | Goscha is a Colorado law firm founded by Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha. The boutique mountain law practice specializes in divorce, child custody, and family law. Kalamaya | Goscha has law offices in Edwards, Aspen, and Glenwood Springs. To speak to an attorney call (970) 315-2365.

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