Verbal Parenting Time Modifications Enforced

Often after a divorce, the parties verbally agree to modifications in the parenting time arrangement without ever reducing it to a court order. What happens when a parent then seeks to enforce the previous child support order despite the modification? In this post-dissolution of marriage proceeding between a father and mother, this issue was addressed.

In this case, in the 2000 permanent orders, the mother was designated the primary residential parent and father was ordered to pay mother monthly child support. Then, in 2008, the mother filed a motion requesting contempt for the fathers his failure to pay child support due under the court’s previous orders, including from 7-2000 to 4-2005, when the child became emancipated. Father responded that pursuant to an unwritten agreement between the parties, their child lived with him from July or August 2000 to March 2003, and again from September 2003 through her emancipation. Therefore, he argued that he should not have been required to pay child support to mother during that time period.

The court agreed: Pursuant to CRS § 14-10-122(5), “when a mutually agreed upon change of physical care occurs, the provisions for child support of the obligor under the existing child support order, if modified pursuant to this section, will be modified as of the date when physical care was changed.” Such an agreement does not need to appear in written form. 2012 COA 83. No. 11CA0893. In re the Marriage of Paige.