Your relationship with your co-parent hasn’t been positive, but you’re increasingly concerned about your child’s safety while they’re in your ex-spouse’s care. As a protective parent, your instincts say, “Grab the child and run,” but you’re worried that you’ll be charged with parental kidnapping.
That worry is valid. Under Colorado law, you do have an affirmative defense to parental kidnapping charges if you act in the reasonable fear that your child is in danger. However, that still means that you may face arrest, the suspension of your parental rights and a trial – and that would be a disaster for your child.
Consider asking for an emergency modification of custody
Colorado law does provide concerned parents with the option to request an emergency motion to change the custody order. An emergency hearing can be held very quickly. However, be prepared to explain to the judge exactly why you believe that your child is in serious danger, whether that’s due to something like:
- Your co-parent’s apparent mental health issues
- Threats the co-parent may have made to harm your child
- Physical abuse your child has suffered while in their other parent’s care
- Your co-parent’s drug or alcohol addiction and abuse or use around your child
- Your co-parent’s inability (or unwillingness) to provide your child with the basic necessities, like food and safe shelter, during their parenting time
While you can file an emergency order for custody “pro se” (on your own) through the court, an issue like this is best handled with experienced legal guidance. You don’t want to make a misstep that would put you in handcuffs and your child in an even worse position.