Handling Family Law, Criminal Defense And Civil Litigation Matters Throughout The Mountain Areas And Western Slope Of Colorado

Working Out The Realities Of Custody And Co-Parenting

When parents split up, they don’t truly “go their separate ways.” Their lives remain intertwined by the care and upbringing of their children. Conflicts over where the kids will live and how to raise them are ongoing sources of friction and frustration. These emotionally charged disagreements can be traumatizing for all members of the family.

The Law Office of Monica S. McElyea, LLC, can help you work out the specifics of co-parenting and boundaries that will help families – the adults and the children – move forward. If you expect a battle over parenting time or parental responsibilities is going to get particularly ugly, we will help you take proactive measures to protect your parental rights and the best interests of your child.

Understanding Parenting Time And Parental Responsibility

The Colorado courts no longer use the terms custody. Instead, child custody matters are referred to as parental responsibilities. Likewise, the courts use parenting time instead of the older term visitation to refer to the days and overnights that each parent spends with the child.

Decision-making responsibility refers to sole or joint authority to make decisions about the child in four general areas:

  • Nonemergency health matters
  • Education and school choice
  • Religious upbringing
  • General welfare and extracurricular activities

It is typical for parents to have joint decision-making responsibility even if one parent has more of the overnights.

When parents are unable to reach an agreement on parenting time and/or decision-making, a hearing may be necessary. With more than 20 years of experience in Colorado divorce and family law, attorney Monica McElyea can help you negotiate and solidify solutions that work for you, your child and the co-parent. She knows how to aggressively pursue your rights through mediation, settlement talks or courtroom advocacy.

Paternity And Parenting Time For Unmarried Parents

Parents who were never married have the same rights and obligations to parent their children. Sometimes, it may be necessary to prove the father’s parentage through a paternity test (genetic testing). Either the father or the mother can petition for a paternity test and either can petition for parenting time and parental responsibilities. We have represented mothers and fathers in these cases, including enforcement of child support orders and enforcement of parenting time.

Parent Relocation And Parenting Time Modifications

Circumstances change as parents change jobs or enter new relationships, or as the needs of children change over time. We represent either parent in these complex and emotional matters, including:

  • Petitions by a parent to move away from the mountains or out of Colorado entirely
  • When a child wishes to live primarily with the other parent
  • Substantial changes to the parenting schedule (overnights, summer vacation, pickup times, etc.)

Experienced Guidance In Colorado Family Law

Ideally, we can help parents can find a workable compromise, but when there is no middle ground or the other parent refuses to negotiate, Ms. McElyea is prepared to fiercely advocate for your rights and your child’s best interests.

To discuss custody and parenting issues in a confidential consultation, call our Grand Junction law office today at 970-325-6319 or use our online form.