How Do I Get Emergency Child Custody?

Changing a child custody arrangement can be a long and complicated process. But what if there is an emergency and you need custody of your child right away? Luckily, there are specific child custody laws in place for this exact scenario. Before we get into how to get emergency child custody, it is important to know what it is.

Emergency Child Custody

Filing a motion for emergency child custody allows a court to act immediately to suspend all unsupervised parenting time. There are a few restrictions, however. The court can only grant emergency child custody if your child is being put in danger by their other parent. This endangerment can be emotional or physical. Some examples are physical abuse, sexual abuse, excessive drinking or drug use around your child, mental health concerns for the parent, domestic violence, or even neglect. In addition, if your child’s other parent isn’t necessarily the one endangering your child, emergency custody can still be granted. If your child’s other parent has friends or a significant other who endanger your child, this falls under child endangerment on behalf of the parent.

How do I get emergency child custody?

To start the process of getting emergency child custody, you would first have to file a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time with the court. Once you have filed your motion, the court will immediately order that all contact between the parent and child be monitored by a third party. The court will then schedule a hearing in the next 14 days to review the motion. At the hearing, both parents will be allowed to present any evidence they have regarding the endangerment of the child. This can include pictures, emails or texts, and any people who have witnessed the endangerment or lack thereof. The court will then make a ruling on the motion. The judge will either deny the motion, continue the restrictions put in place when the motion was filed, or change the restrictions to be less strict or stricter.

It is important to note that there are penalties for wrongful accusations, including, but not limited to, paying legal fees for the other side. It is vital that you do not file a motion like this out of spite. To avoid this, it is helpful to consult an attorney to make sure that what you are claiming is substantiated. A Divorce Matters attorney can also help you navigate the entire process with ease and expertise.

What Types of Law Does Divorce Matters Practice?

Just from our name, it’s easy to tell that we excel in divorce law, but what other kinds of cases can Divorce Matters handle? We are a law firm specializing in family law. Family law covers a wide variety of different cases including:


Estate Planning

Divisions of Marital Property

An important part of the divorce process in Colorado is figuring out how to divide marital property. The procedure generally involves two steps. First, it must be determined what marital property is. Second, the marital property must be divided equitably

Spousal Maintenance

In Colorado, neither spouse has an automatic right to maintenance. The court may award maintenance only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to meet their reasonable needs and, in addition, is either unable to support themselves through appropriate employment or should not be required to seek employment because of child care responsibilities. Divorce Matters has lots of experience in Spousal Maintenance negotiations and our attorneys are the perfect choice to help you!

Child Custody

When children are involved, the divorce process doesn’t end once the final paperwork is filed. With children come often contentious and painful negotiations about and modification of parental rights, parenting time, and custody. Our team has deep experience dealing with child custody and parental rights issues and we believe it is our duty and an imperative to help couples address custody and rights issues in ways that reduce the impact of divorce and protect children in the process.

Child Support

In Colorado, child support is based on strict guidelines dictated by state laws and statutes. The issue of child support is separate and distinct from the issue of parenting time, and child support payments may not be conditioned upon parenting time. Due to these strict laws, it is important to have guidance from an expert attorney throughout the process.

Post Decree Modifications

Have your circumstances changed since your divorce? Have you lost your job? Has your ex-spouse received a salary increase? Did your ex-spouse fail to disclose financial matters during the dissolution of marriage? Once your divorce is finalized, fortunately, not everything in your original separation agreement or parenting plan is set in stone. Courts recognize that circumstances change, and, sometimes, spouses hide income or assets during the divorce process. Depending on the exact circumstances of your case, you may have a variety of options post-decree. In the following sections, we explore your options in modifying maintenance, child support, parenting time, custody, and decision-making, as well as how you can reopen your property division.

Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration are perfect options for anyone going through a divorce. Both options allow the partners to take more control in the divorce, as well as keep the process out of court. Not only does Divorce Matters represent clients through mediation and arbitration, but we also have a mediator on staff!

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens to people in all classes, statuses, and ranks in life, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, education, profession, or socioeconomic status. The unfortunate reality is that one in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, resulting in an estimated 1.3 million women becoming victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

Contempt of Court

After having gone through a divorce or once you have some orders from the court, you may at some point find yourself on either end of a contempt of court action if one of the parties is not complying with the orders. If you find yourself on either end of a contempt action, Divorce Matters is here to help!

Unbundled Legal Services

Unbundled legal services are the perfect solution for anyone not ready to jump into full-scale representation. With unbundled services, you can hire an attorney at their hourly rate to help you with specific aspects of your legal troubles, like filing paperwork or gathering documents!

Common-Law Marriage

The state of Colorado allows couples to enter into common law marriage. However, the parameters of common law marriage can be hazy and difficult to understand, just like common law divorce


If your case falls under family law, we can help with your appeal!

Prenuptial Agreements

While there are a million things to plan when a couple decides to marry, often the most difficult to discuss with your future partner is the possible need for a prenuptial agreement. While this subject is not the most romantic or exciting part of wedding planning, a couple contemplating marriage in Colorado may need to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement, or a contract before marriage.

Military Divorce

To thank our Military service members, we even offer 10% off of legal fees! This discount is offered to all active and retired service members, veterans, and military spouses.

Thomas Legal Firm

While Divorce Matters only deals in family law, we do have a sister law firm that offers other services. Thomas Law Firm deals with Criminal matters as well as Civil Law matters, including general litigation, civil rights, workers’ compensation, and business defense litigation.

Are Same-Sex Divorces Handled the Same As Heterosexual Divorces?

With tides having turned in the struggle for LGBTQ+ marriage rights over the last decade, often questions about whether there are any differences when it comes to marriage for same-sex couples arise. Are these marriages the same as heterosexual marriages? And what about the divorces?

How is same-sex divorce different from a divorce between a heterosexual couple?

Because same-sex marriage is legal in Colorado there is virtually no difference between same-sex divorce and heterosexual divorce. This means that you can either be a petitioner and respondent or petitioner and co-petitioner. After that, the divorce will proceed as a heterosexual divorce would.

How will child support and custody factor into a same-sex divorce?

Because many same-sex couples have children, this is a question that is often at the forefront of the couples’ minds. However, the court will proceed as they would for any divorce. Regardless of whether or not the child is biologically yours, or adopted by one or both parents, the court will determine parenting time based on the best interests of the child. If both parents are adoptive parents, they are both treated as if they are legal parents to the children. This is the same if one party is the biological parent and one party is an adoptive parent.

Additionally, child support will be calculated using the same calculation as in any other child support situation. If you’re curious what child support might look like in your particular set of circumstances, check out our calculator.

If you are interested in common law marriage divorce or divorce for LGBTQIA+ couples, you can learn more here. You can also find more materials discussing same-sex marriage on our website.

What if I Believe My Spouse is Unfit to Take Care of Our Children?

If you believe that your spouse (or former spouse) is unfit to care for your children, there are a few possible routes to take. The route that you take will depend on the urgency and severity of the situation. If the situation does not require immediate attention, you can file a “Motion for Modification of Parenting Time”. If the situation is more urgent and needs to be remedied immediately, you can file a “Motion to Restrict Parenting Time” or you can call Child Protective Services (CPS). You can learn more about each of these options below.

Motion for Modification of Parenting Time

There are a few different routes to take depending on the severity of the situation. If your concerns do not require immediate attention, you can file a “Motion for Modification of Parenting Time” as discussed above. This motion may be filed every two years or as often as necessary, as long as you can prove that circumstances have changed. The change in circumstances could be a variety of things, including, but not limited to, moving, use of drugs or illegal substances, or the creation of an unsafe situation for children. In proving this change of circumstances, it may be helpful to hire a third-party investigator, called a Child and Family Investigator or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator. To be clear, this is not an immediate solution and will take a minimum of 3 months to complete. Following a minimum of 3 months, the court may deny the modification and elect to keep the parenting plan consistent or modify the plan in line with the requested modification or in any way the court sees fit to modify the parenting time agreement.

Motion to Restrict Parenting Time

If your situation is more urgent, there are two roads that will lead to a quicker resolution from the court. One of these options is to file a “Motion to Restrict Parenting Time”. This motion must include the reasons that you believe the children will be endangered, either physically or emotionally, by remaining in the care of the opposing parent. The court is required to set a hearing date within 14 days of filing this motion, making it significantly quicker than filing a “Motion for Modification of Parenting Time”. When the date of the hearing comes around, you should make sure to bring any evidence you have that your children are not safe with the opposing parent. It is important that this evidence is not just what your children have told you, as this can be considered “hearsay” and may not be admissible evidence. If the court finds that you are correct and the other parent is physically or emotionally endangering the child, there may be steps or restrictions put into place that the opposing parent must go through if they want to regain any parenting time. For example, if the opposing parent has been using drugs, the court may order a rehabilitation program before they are allowed to regain any parenting time. The court can also restrict or reduce the opposing parent’s parenting time. It is important to remember that this is a very serious claim and should not be filed without base. If this motion is found to be baseless or vengeful, the court may require you to pay the opposing parent’s attorney fees.

Child Protective Services

The second option for a more urgent case is contacting Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS is a government agency that investigates claims of child abuse or neglect. This is the most serious action and will result in the most immediate response. Before getting more into this process, it is important to note that calling CPS on the opposing parent will also invite CPS to investigate you. The organization is meant to make decisions in the best interest of the child and they cannot do this without investigating every aspect of your children’s lives.  This investigation will include interviewing both parents, various witnesses, and the children themselves. CPS will generally make findings of the best situation for the children without initiating action through the court. In more severe cases, however, CPS will initiate action through the courts called a “Dependency and Neglect Action”. This may result in the child being removed from the unsafe environment, supervised visitation, reintegration therapy, substance abuse monitoring, or any action that the court feels is appropriate to the situation.

5 Colorado Summer Vacation Destinations for the Whole Family

Summer break can be a hard time of year for divorced parents. While extra time with your kids and warm weather can bring joy, it can also come with difficulty splitting up parenting time. Sometimes, even just planning a vacation can be difficult if it’s going to be out of state. This list of 5 family-friendly Colorado destinations will make planning your summer vacation far easier and allow you to make the most of your parenting time.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

  1. Durango: This charming and historic town has a lot to offer during the summertime. Because of the river that runs through town there are plenty of water sports to keep the kiddos busy including kayaking, tubing, paddling, and whitewater rafting. Durango also offers a scenic railroad, in addition to various restaurants, boutique hotels, retail stores, and the Durango Discovery Museum!
  2. Snowmass: New on the summer vacation scene, Snowmass is quickly becoming one of the best family vacation spots in Colorado. There are tons of options for outdoor activities, like the Treeline Trial Challenge Course and the Lost Forest Adventure Park, which offers zip lines, an alpine coaster, a climbing wall, disc golf, and even paintball. In addition, the town of Snowmass boasts restaurants, live music, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and even a rodeo. The Roaring Fork River also offers water sports, specifically paddle boarding with local guides.
  3. Steamboat Springs: This cute Western town offers a weekly rodeo, which draws many tourists to the area. Main Street offers a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as being close to the Old Town Hot Springs. The springs have numerous pools and areas to play in and are a great spot for kids! There are plenty of activities on the mountain as well, including mini-golf, tubing, mini-boats, bounce houses, climbing walls, a mountain coaster, hiking, and biking. The 4th of July is a great time to visit Steamboat Springs for their huge parade through Old Town.
  4. Glenwood Springs: Another hot spring town? We promise it’s worth the stop! Glenwood Springs has a resort called Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which offers a mile-long pool for kids to swim to their heart’s content. In the summertime, there are cabana rentals and even a splash zone. For the more adventurous children, there is adventure to be had at the Historic Fairy Caves Tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  5. Winter Park: Only a 90-mile drive from Denver, Winter Park has a lot to offer its summer visitors. On the mountain, families can check out Colorado’s longest alpine slide, free Friday movie nights, climbing walls, and the Trestle Bike Park, which has trails appropriate for all ages. Families can also take a one-hour walking tour of the kennels at the Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park. The area also boasts 5 mountain lakes, which are perfect for boating, fishing, and water sports. Grand Lake is one of these lakes and is Colorado’s largest body of water. The historic boardwalk has various shops, restaurants, and even a theater to check out. As with all of Colorado, there are beautiful trails and hikes to be found all over this area.

Check out our source (and more info) here

How Much Will A Divorce Cost Me?

Contrary to popular belief, divorce does not always have to be expensive. One of the biggest influencing factors in the cost of a divorce is the complexity of your specific case. These complexities come in a few different forms, and each essentially affects how much time needs to be spent on a particular case and therefore how expensive that case will be. Some of these things will be within your control, and others won’t – this is why it is important to reach out and schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. In your initial consultation, our attorneys can go over your specific set of circumstances with you, and they will be able to give you an idea of what your specific case might cost and how to manage those costs.


What will affect the cost of my divorce?


As mentioned, there are several main determining factors that will affect the total cost of your divorce. Some of these include:

  1. The amount of assets involved
  2. Whether or not you have children
  3. How contentious (think conflict) your case is

These factors all increase the complexity of your case and therefore increase the total cost.

How you can keep the cost down?


There are a few ways you can help keep the cost down in your case. The most popular way is to utilize our unbundled legal services, which involves having an attorney help with one specific aspect of your case, such as drafting and reviewing documents for you, offering coaching or legal advice, or communicating with other parties, opposing counsel, and the courts. However, this option is not always a good fit, especially if your case has any of the factors listed above that tend to increase costs. Another way to keep costs down is to work on coming to an amicable agreement with your ex through mediation or arbitration. This will save time and money on going to court and is often easier on your emotional well-being in the end as well.


Every case is different, so it important to speak with an attorney to get a better idea of how much your specific situation will cost and what your options might be. Contact Divorce Matters today to set up an initial consultation with one of our many experienced attorneys who can help put you and your family on the path to a successful future after divorce.

Attorney Brooke Shafranek Answers Your Questions Regarding COVID-19 and How It Affects Your Divorce

Divorce Matters attorney Brooke Shafranek answers questions submitted from the community.

Q. Can I still get a divorce? (0:18)

Q. What can I do if I’m experiencing an emergency, such as domestic violence or child abuse? (2:30)

Q. Co-parenting, parenting plans, what happens if we need to deviate or I and my ex disagree? (3:04)

Q. What will happen with the stimulus checks that the government is sending out? (3:53)

Contact us for more information or to schedule a video or phone consultation:  720-542-6142

Six Reasons to Establish Paternity in Fort Collins, CO

More and more unmarried parents welcome children every year, putting paternity issues at the forefront for many mothers and fathers in Colorado. Though you may not have immediate concerns about establishing parentage, there are some considerations to keep in mind for the future. A Fort Collins paternity lawyer can tell you more about why it’s critical to obtain legal proof of parentage, but some important information may help.

From the Mother’s Perspective

The three top reasons a mother may want to establish parentage may include:

  1. Child Support: Raising a child is not cheap, and Colorado law on child support imposes a duty for both parents to contribute financially. If you want to seek child support from the child’s father, you must first have an order establishing paternity.
  2. Get the Father Involved: Like many mothers, you recognize the critical role a father can play in your child’s development. While you may not get along with the other parent, you may want to establish paternity to open the door to a healthy parent-child relationship.
  3. Social Security Benefits: Even when the father voluntarily provides financial support, your child has no rights to certain benefits unless you have official, legal parentage. Social Security offers a death benefit for minor children, which provides funds on a monthly basis until they turn 18 years old. Under certain circumstances, your child may also qualify for disability benefits or amounts based upon the father’s military service.

Fathers and Paternity

Fathers also have rights, but you cannot enforce them unless you are recognized by law through establishing parentage.

  1. Child Custody: Colorado law uses the term “parental responsibilities” to refer to what’s commonly called custody. As a father, you have the right to participate in major decisions regarding your child’s upbringing, such as education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Unless you are the legal father through a VAP or paternity lawsuit, you have no say in these issues.
  2. Visitation Rights: Parenting time is important to forming a solid relationship with your child, so it’s understandable that you want to exercise visitation rights. Even if the mother voluntarily allows you to spend time with the child, you must establish paternity before you have the legal right to visitation.
  3. Child Support: You may be fully willing to contribute to your child’s financial needs, but you’re in a tough spot if you don’t believe the mother’s assertion that you’re the father. In such a situation, you’d want to have a court make a determination on paternity to protect your own financial interests.

Contact Fort Collins, CO Paternity Lawyers Regarding Parentage Issues

If you have questions about the importance of establishing paternity on either side of the issue, please contact our team at Divorce Matters. We can review your circumstances and advise you on options to seek parentage as the mother or father. Our paternity attorneys can also explain how to handle a situation where you don’t believe you’re the child’s parent. Our lawyers represent clients in Fort Collins, Larimer County, and throughout Central Colorado, and we’re happy to help.

Modifying Child Custody When Moving Out of Denver, CO

If you are currently divorced and share a minor child with your ex-spouse, you likely have a parenting plan in place that allocates parental responsibilities, including important decision-making responsibilities for the child as well as parenting time, or when each parent physically cares for and spends time with the child. But what happens if you apply for and are offered a new job that requires you to move out of Denver? And does the answer to that question change if you are simply moving elsewhere in the state of Colorado as opposed to another state?

The matter of relocation can be complicated for parents in Denver, especially when the parents do not agree that a relocation is in the best interests of the child. We will discuss the process of relocation and how a parent can seek to modify parenting time.

Distance of the Move and How It Affects a Relocation

If you are simply moving to another house in the Denver city limits, or if you are moving to a nearby suburb like Holly Hills or Highlands Ranch, you likely will not need to seek permission for your relocation. However, according to Colorado law (C.R.S. § 14-10-129), when one of the parents intends to relocate with the child to a home that significantly changes the geographical ties between the child and the other parent, then the parent seeking to move must inform the other parent and begin taking steps toward a lawful relocation.

To be clear, if you want to move to a new home in the general Denver area, it is unlikely that the move would substantially change the geographical ties between your child and the other parent. However, moving farther away””whether it is to another city in Colorado that is some distance away or to another state””then you will need to do the following:

  • Provide the other parent with written notice, as soon as it is practicable, of your intent to relocate;
  • Provide the other parent with the location of where you intend to reside and your reason for the relocation;
  • Provide a proposed revised parenting time plan; and
  • Schedule a court hearing for a modification of parenting time.

Motion for a Relocation

If the other parent agrees to the modification, the process is much easier. However, if the other parent does not agree, you will need to seek permission from the court. When you seek to modify a parenting time plan in Denver with the permission of the court, you will need to file a motion for relocation. In determining whether to grant your motion, the court will decide whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child. In order to make that determination, the court will look at a number of different factors, including but not limited to:

  • Reasons you want to relocate with your child;
  • Reasons the other parent objects to the relocation;
  • History and quality of your relationship with the child since the parenting time order took effect;
  • History and quality of the other parent’s relationship with the child since the parenting time order took effect;
  • Educational opportunities for your child at your current location and at the new location;
  • Advantages for the child to remain with the primary caregiver;
  • Anticipated impact of the move on your child;
  • Whether court will be able to revise the parenting time schedule in a reasonable manner if it permits the relocation; and
  • Other factors involved in determining the best interests of the child.

While moving can be difficult on children, as an article in Psychology Today suggests, this fact alone does not mean that a relocation is not in the child’s best interests.

Contact a Denver Child Custody Attorney

If you have questions about relocation or other aspects of your parenting time plan, an experienced child custody lawyer in Denver can assist you. Contact Divorce Matters today.

Will Recreational Marijuana Use Affect My Divorce Proceedings?

In 2012, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, which put the state on the leading edge of liberalizing marijuana laws. Though it is still not allowed under federal law, recreational use of cannabis is permitted in Colorado.

This complex legal framework raises a number of questions. For example, if you are getting divorced in Denver, CO, you may be wondering how recreational marijuana could impact the proceedings. In child custody and visitation proceedings, use of marijuana ”” along with the use of any other impairing substance ”” could potentially be a factor in the case.

How Recreational Marijuana Use Might Impact Child Custody Cases

Under Colorado law (C.R.S. § 14-10-124), child custody cases are resolved under the state’s best interests of the child standard. Simply put, Colorado courts are instructed to make determinations in accordance with what is best for the health, safety, emotional well-being, and social development of the child. In doing so, family law judges can look to many different factors ”” including recreational marijuana use.

To be clear, recreational marijuana use will not automatically disqualify a parent from gaining custody. Instead, it may simply be a factor in the case. In considering this issue, the most useful comparator is alcohol use. While it is certainly legal to drink, alcohol use can still be in an issue in child custody/child visitation disputes. If evidence is presented that shows that a parent’s alcohol use (or alternatively, their recreational marijuana use) adversely affects their ability to provide stability and safety for their child, then that fact may be used against them in child custody proceedings.

Be Ready to Show You Can Provide a Great Environment for Your Child

If you are going through a child custody or child visitation dispute in Colorado, the most important thing that you need to know is that you must be able to show that you can provide a healthy, happy, and safe environment for your child. Colorado courts are primarily interested in what is best for the children.

Evidence of recreational marijuana use does not mean that a parent is irresponsible. However, if there is any evidence that the marijuana use can be linked to poor or inattentive parenting, then the marijuana use will become a factor in the child custody case. For example, if a parent got behind the wheel while intoxicated on marijuana or if they repeatedly forgot to pick up their child because they were smoking marijuana, that will be a major strike against them in any child custody or child visitation proceeding.

Contact Our Denver Divorce Attorneys Today

At Divorce Matters, our top-rated Lakewood divorce attorneys are committed to providing our clients trusted, reliable family law advice when they need it most. If you have questions about recreational marijuana use and divorce, we can help.

To set up a fully confidential family law consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law office at (720) 580-6745. With locations in Greenwood Village, Lakewood, and Fort Collins, we represent clients throughout Colorado.