Children and Divorce

The End of the Special Advocate?

News From the Legislature Just recently the Governor signed into law a revised version of the statute that detailed the duties and responsibilities of “either [the] representative of the child or [the] special advocate.” The new law now separates the individuals appointed to these positions and gives them qualifications, duties, and responsibilities distinct from each other. Perhaps the boldest change, mainly because it will require us to accustom ourselves to using new lingo, is that the “special advocate” is removed from the statute and replaced with the Child and Family... Read More

Supervised Parenting Time

Supervised Visitation If a court determines a parent may be a danger to a child physically or emotionally, the court may order that all parenting time by that parent be supervised. Evidence of such danger may include domestic violence (whether or not there have been convictions), alcohol or drug use, or psychological abuse. Unless the endangerment involves conviction for certain violent or child endangering crimes, such supervision may be performed by anyone the parties agree to and approved by the judge, including, for example, relatives or friends. In any case,... Read More

Relocating With a Child

Colorado Child Custody – One of the most tragic situations any parent may ever face occurs when their ex-spouse moves from the State of Colorado with their child. This event, when combined with the effects of the divorce, itself, can be truly devastating to the non-custodial parent and, sometimes, to the child. However, the Colorado legislature has recently amended the law to make it more difficult for custodial parents to move with a child when the non-custodial parent remains in Colorado. The new law will replace a previous Colorado Supreme... Read More

Kids Having Two Homes

One of the realities of divorce is that children are suddenly torn from “one two-parent household” to “two one-parent households.” This change can be extremely stressful on children, not only on an emotional level, but on a physical level as well. After two new households have been established, children must adapt to at least one new residence, if not two. Additionally, there may be new schools and new neighborhoods involved. When a child makes a transition to “two one-parent households,” it is helpful to understand it from the child’s perspective,... Read More

Second Hand Smoke and Colorado Family Law

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act that went into effect at 12:01 on July 1, 2006 means many businesses are now officially deemed smoke free. The implementation of this law coincides with the United States Surgeon General’s statement about environmental tobacco smoke, often called second hand smoke, that there is no safe amount of second hand smoke. The U.S. government’s top doctor says the debate is over, second hand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard that leads to disease and premature death in children and... Read More

Visitation or “Parenting Time”

“Parenting time” refers to how time with the children will be divided between divorced parents. This term replaced the term, “visitation”, which is now no longer officially used in the Colorado divorce statutes. Courts usually designate parenting time for one parent, and the other parent as the “primary care parent”, or “the parent with whom the children reside the majority of the time”. This designation can be important in determining significant parenting issues, such as whether a parent can permanently leave the state with the children. In divorce, a court... Read More

Paternity 101

On its face, the concept of paternity seems so simple. Namely, paternity is the state of being a father. But what are the rights and obligations associated with fatherhood in the eyes of the Colorado courts? In essence, a father is entitled to parenting time and decision making responsibility. However with these entitlements comes a father’s obligation to financially support his children and positively contribute to their moral development. To the surprise of many, these rights and responsibilities do not automatically belong to the biological father. Colorado courts have made... Read More

Parenting Time Through Virtual Visitation

LIVE-ACTION INTERACTION When Michael Gough’s ex-wife wanted to move out of state, taking their young daughter with her, the Utah dad faced a dilemma: either see his child a few times a year, or give up his job and move. Then he found a third option. With his attorney, Joyce Maughan of Salt Lake City, Gough asked the judge for a then-little-known addition to the custody agreement called virtual visitation. By using a webcam—a small digital video camera that connects computers via the Internet—Gough could see and talk to his... Read More

New Thoughts on Parenting Time

It wasn’t long ago that most people assumed that the mother in a divorce action would automatically get custody of the children and the father limited visitation. But this has become an outdated assumption primarily because the notion of what constitutes a “family” in this country is not as easily ascertainable. Familial roles are in a constant state of reconstruction. Today, many women work outside of the home and men are not necessarily the breadwinners. Because of this, courts, legislatures and family counselors alike are re-evaluating how to best devise... Read More

How Do Judges Decide Custody and Parenting Time?

A judge facing a question about custody (“parental responsibilities”) or parenting time bases his or her decision on what is in the children’s ”best interest “. Although this sounds vague, Colorado statutes directly address what this means. The statute specifically states, for example, that judges should assume there should be “frequent and continuing contact” between the children and both parents, unless a parent presents a danger of physical or psychological harm to the children. Evidence of such danger might be explicit, such as a conviction for domestic violence, another violent... Read More