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Motions to Restrict

What is a motion to restrict? How is it similar and different to a motion to modify? In this blog post about family law, we’ll define both, and we’ll explain how they relate to your family law case.

What is a Motion to Restrict?

In general, a motion to restrict is an emergency motion surrounding parenting time. It’s an emergency because the motion implies that the child’s physical and/or emotional health and development will be in danger unless parenting time is changed by the court. In other words, keeping parenting or visitation time the same will bring harm to the child, and therefore needs to be altered. Since this is considered an emergency, the hearing will usually be scheduled within 14 days of the motion. During this time, the court can do a few things:

  • completely restrict parenting time and require the other party to complete certain tasks before the court will readdress parenting time
  • or require third party supervision during visitation through
    • visitation centers
    • therapists
    • or any other third person approved by the court

What is a Motion to Modify?

A motion to modify is different from a motion to restrict. The court must determine that the current child custody arrangement and parenting time set up is not in the best interest of your child. The court will address a few questions as it determines the decision, such as:

  • Has the child been integrated into the petitioner?
  • How will the modification affect the distribution of parenting time?
  • Is the child’s physical or emotional wellbeing currently in danger due to the current parenting time?

If both parents haven’t agreed to this modification, then the petitioner (person filing the motion) will have to prove to the court that it is in the best interest of the child. It’s important to know that the standard that needs to be met in a motion to modify is higher than endangerment or showing imminent harm to the child.

What Needs to be in a Motion to Restrict/Motion to Modify?

If you are considering filing a motion to restrict or a motion to modify in Colorado, you can find the form at the Colorado State Court website, or click here. In short, some of the important things that are included in the motion are:

  • Choosing between modifying or restricting parenting time
  • Whether the child is currently in physical or emotional danger with the current parenting time schedule
  • General information about the petitioner and respondent
  • A required notice of prior protection/restraining orders

It’s also important to note that the motion will have to be served to the other party, and a certificate of service is attached to the bottom of the form.


Overall, motions to restrict and motions to modify are great options when seeking to alter parenting time. Making decisions that are in the best interest of your child are, ultimately, what matters most when going through a divorce and seeking parenting time alterations. However, this can be difficult if you don’t know which type of motion to file. This is why we recommend speaking to or scheduling a consultation with a family law attorney to help you determine, based upon your evidence and case, which motion you should be filing.

Interested in learning more about Family Law and divorce? Check out these other blog posts about the topic:

Need Legal Help?

If you are in need of criminal defense or family law help (and yeah, we do some animal law things outside of criminal defense and family law, too) consider reaching out to Colorado Lawyer Team for a free 30-minute consultation. Find more information at or call 970.670.0378.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

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