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:

Adoption

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

Appeals

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

Will I be Affected by Changes to the 2021 Child Tax Credit?

Recently it was announced that under the American Rescue Plan Act the expanded Child Tax Credit would be distributed differently in 2021. This year, half of the tax credit will be distributed on a monthly basis beginning in July and the other half will arrive with your 2021 tax refund. While this tax credit is a welcomed relief for many families who are struggling to make ends meet, it also spells confusion for most folks who are going through or already divorced.

 

How will this tax credit be distributed if I am divorced?

 

The Child Tax Credit can only be claimed on one tax return, so if you are divorced or filing separately this means that only one parent will be able to claim the tax credit. A court order or separation agreement will name the person eligible to claim the tax credit, this is typical whichever parent has primary custody. There are several ways a 50/50 custody arrangement might address this, for example, some may choose to file with the tax credit every other year.

 

Can the courts rule that this year’s tax credit be split?

 

In most cases, the courts will follow whatever was agreed upon in your separation agreement or court order. However, this is not the end of the line if you wish to treat this year’s tax credit differently. For example, if your ex claims the tax credit every year but you are able to come to an agreement with them that you will file for the tax credit this year, you can file an IRS Form 8332. This form is a right of tax benefit transfer, which would allow you to claim for this year. Please be aware that it is important you check with your attorney first before moving forward with anything that deviates from your separation agreement. We also suggest seeking out a tax professional for help with filing your taxes.

 

Can the tax credit payments be garnished for child support if I am behind on my payments?

Per the American Rescue Plan Act, this tax credit is not subject to garnishment meaning you will receive the full amount from the government. However, this does not protect that payment from garnishment or levy once the money is in your bank account. Another consideration is that while it won’t be garnished when distributed when you file your taxes at the end of the year it may be subject to offset.

 

What do I do if the tax credit was claimed by my ex, but I was supposed to claim it this year?

 

The best way to handle this is to get in touch with your attorney. They will be able to help you chart the best course of action, whether that be reaching out to negotiate with your ex and coming to an amicable resolution, or filing a motion of contempt with the courts.

 

If you have questions, please reach out to one of our experienced attorneys today.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. This economic stimulus bill was passed to counteract the negative health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and built upon previous legislation meant to do the same.

The bills key features include:

  • Extending expanded unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021
  • $1,400 direct payments to individuals, including eligible adult dependents (college students, SSI recipients, SSDI recipients). These benefits begin to phase out according to the following income schedule:
    • 75,000 for individuals, with no payment going to those earning more than $80,000
    • $112,500 for single parents, with no payment going to those earning more than $120,000
    • $150,000 for couples, with no payment going to those earning more than $160,000
  • Expanded tax credits for the 2021 year, including the child tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and the earned income tax credit
  • Small business grants
  • Funding for education, housing, COVID-19 healthcare, agriculture, transportation, and cybersecurity
  • Changes to ACA, COBRA, Medicaid and CHIP

While the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act may have brought some relief to families across the country, it also brings with it many questions if you are going through or have been through a divorce. How do these tax credits affect your family? What about the stimulus checks? We’ve compiled answers to your most pressing questions so you can understand how this may affect you and your family. If you have any other questions, reach out to us today and schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We always recommend speaking with a tax professional or your financial advisor if you have questions regarding your tax situation.

https://youtu.be/glN4VQstltc

 

Q&A 

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[accordion title=”Q. Who will receive the stimulus payments for dependent children?“]

A. For people who filed jointly in 2019 and have not yet filed their 2020 taxes, the stimulus will go to the joint bank account they used for their 2019 taxes. If a direct deposit cannot be completed, it will be mailed to the address on the most recent tax return. If you filed separately and have not yet filed for 2020, the person who claimed the dependent children in 2019 will receive the stimulus payment. If one person has filed and claimed the child, the first person to file taxes will receive the stimulus.

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[accordion title=”Q. Can I fight it if I feel like the stimulus payment(s) were sent to my ex incorrectly?“]

A. There is a process to appeal:

  1. Send docs to IRS
  2. Once the IRS has received your documents, they will examine both returns – the return with the claimed dependent(s) and yours – and apply the tiebreaker rules based on the criteria listed below. The process might take 8-12 weeks.
  3. If you found out that you claimed a dependent incorrectly on an IRS-accepted tax return, you will need to file a tax amendment or form 1040-X and remove the dependent from your tax return.
  4. Tiebreaker rules:
    i. A married couple or parents prepare and e-file or file a married joint tax return and claim the child a qualifying dependent.
    ii. Only one parent of the couple, who is also the child’s parent, claims the child as a qualifying child or dependent.
    iii. If the child has two persons as parents and the two persons do NOT file a married joint return, then the parent with whom the child lived or resided for the longer time period during a tax year will be qualified to claim.
    iv. If the child lived or resided with each parent the same amount of time during the tax year, the parent with the highest adjusted gross income or AGI will be able to claim. No married joint return, both parents claim the child on their respective return.
    v. If no parent claims the child as a qualifying child, then the person with the highest AGI qualifies over any parent who may have been able to claim the child, such as a qualifying step-parent or relative.
    vi. Because of the second tiebreaker rule (residence), the parent who has legal custody of a child is generally the parent who gets to claim the child in cases of divorced or separated parents. If you are the custodial parent and you wish to relinquish your dependency exemption and assign it to the non-custodial parent, you may do so by filing Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent.

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[accordion title=”Q. Is my stimulus payment considered part of my income when calculating maintenance and child support?“]

A. Per the IRS, the payment is not income and not taxable. From a practical perspective, the amount is unlikely to make a significant difference in the calculation of child support or maintenance.

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[accordion title=”Q. What if my ex files their taxes claiming the Child Tax Credit and I feel like I should have been able to?“]

A. Keep in mind, an accepted tax return is not a guarantee to also have the right to claim the dependents on that return. If your ex erroneously claimed your child as a dependent, the Internal Revenue Code allows them to amend their tax return within three years of filing the original or within two years of paying the relevant tax, whichever is later. However, eliminating the dependent generally increases their taxable income and may require them to pay additional tax for that year. Although penalties may apply to the underpayment, the IRS can waive them if they can convince them that it was an unintentional error.

If they choose not to amend their tax return, they run the risk of the IRS discovering that the same child is being claimed as a dependent on two returns. The IRS has three years from the time they file the original return to perform an examination and make additional assessments. In the event they are chosen for an audit, the agency is likely to require proof that your child either lives with them or that they have your consent.

There is the possibility that the IRS will not discover the error within the three-year period. However, if they claim a dependent with full knowledge that they do not qualify, the IRS may argue that it has an unlimited amount of time to examine their return since they made a willful attempt to evade income tax.

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[accordion title=”Q. If I am in the middle of a divorce and it isn’t finalized yet, how do the stimulus payments and Child Tax Credit affect me? Do my ex and I split these?“]

A. This depends on what agreements are made or if there are any temporary orders in place. If you were married on the last day of 2020, you have to file as married jointly or married filing separately. Whether these payments should be split depends on the unique circumstances of the parties. We recommend you reach out to speak with one of our attorneys if you have any questions.

Miscellaneous Other Child Tax Credit Information:

  • You have to file a tax return to get this credit, even if you don’t owe tax and are not legally obligated to file a return.
  • This tax credit is refundable. So, if you’re due to receive a credit of $5,000 but you owe only $2,000 in taxes, you might get a check for $3,000.
  • For the 2020 tax year, there are special rules due to coronavirus: You can use either your 2019 income or your 2020 income to calculate your tax credit, and you can use whichever number gets you the bigger tax credit. Be sure to ask your tax preparer to run the numbers both ways.
  • A number of states offer some version of an earned income tax credit for working families, so you might be able to get that credit too.

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If I’ve Lost My Job Due To The CoronaVirus, Can I Get My Maintenance or Child Support Payments Reduced or Changed?

Have you experienced an interruption to your job due to the coronavirus such as a reduction in hours or loss of job? Can you get your maintenance or child support payments reduced or changed if this is the case and how quickly?

The coronavirus is pushing the country into uncharted waters, jeopardizing nearly half of American jobs. If your work has been impacted by the coronavirus, you may wish to modify the amount of maintenance you are paying your ex-spouse. The first step in tackling this question is to determine whether you can modify maintenance in the first place.

If you and your ex-spouse were able to agree to maintenance as a part of a larger separation agreement, you may have agreed that maintenance is modifiable, or non-modifiable. If the separation agreement states that maintenance is modifiable, then keep reading.

Adversely, if the separation agreement expressly states that maintenance is non-modifiable, then you are unable to request a modification, period. You must pay your maintenance pursuant to the terms of the separation agreement, regardless of changing circumstances.

If maintenance was awarded by the judge at your permanent orders hearing, then it is always subject to modification. This is mandated by Colorado Statutes, which states: “Except upon written agreement of the parties, an award of maintenance entered pursuant to this section may be modified or terminated pursuant to the provisions of section 14-10-122.” §14-10-114(5)(a), C.R.S.

In order to modify maintenance, you must meet the legal requirement, which is “a showing of changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unfair.” §14-10-122(1)(a), C.R.S.

When dealing with child support, there is a higher bar to meet, as the change must result in at least a 10% difference in owed support. Maintenance, on the other hand, depends on whether you can prove to the court a “substantial and continuing” change in circumstances.

This is not an either-or test; you must prove that the change in circumstances (your lost job, for example) is both substantial and continuing.

What courts look for is a change in circumstances so substantial that it renders the original maintenance award unfair. A modest change to your income is not likely to be seen as substantial, no matter how permanent it may be.

Loss of employment, while immediate and substantial, is usually temporary. If you will likely be re-hired when the pandemic subsides, it is likely premature to file for a modification of maintenance or child support because you will be unable to meet the legal requirement that the change in employment circumstances is continuous, not just substantial.

If you have any questions or concerns about your maintenance or child support call us at 720-542-6142 to speak with one of our attorneys, or fill out our form here.

Because family law is an extremely personal matter we are not eliminating face-to-face meetings at this time. However, we do have virtual and telephonic meetings available and strongly encourage them for anyone who wishes to conduct their consultation via telephone or computer in accordance with social distancing protocols.

So Your Ex Is Not Paying Child Support”¦

Getting a divorce can feel a little like running a marathon. Once you reach the end, you might collapse in a heap and tell yourself, “Never again.”

Unfortunately, in many situations, the real trouble has only just begun. Now, you need to spend one or two decades co-parenting with your ex, which often involves one parent paying child support to the other based on a monthly schedule.

But what happens when the other parent refuses to pay? You can ask them to pay, but they might avoid your phone calls. In this situation, you might need to seek enforcement from the judge, called contempt of court.

What is Contempt of Court?

When you received your divorce decree, the judge entered certain orders. These are not optional recommendations to each party but judicial commands to do something. If you or your ex decides not to follow the order, then a judge can find you in contempt.

Your ex might flout the judge’s ruling in all kinds of situation, such as paying child support or alimony or refusing to transfer title of an asset that is now yours thanks to the division of property.

What are the Punishments for Contempt of Court?

Judges have the discretion to bring the party in contempt back into compliance. Sometimes, a stern warning is enough. In other situations, a judge might order the person in contempt to pay money until they start following the orders or even send the person to jail. Usually, it never gets that far””but it could.

A judge might also revisit orders. For example, the judge could award more custody to a parent if his ex decides to disobey the judge’s orders. To determine what is the best remedy, you should consult with your Denver family law attorney.

How Do I Request a Contempt Citation?

You must complete forms and submit them to the court for consideration. It is probably best to have your attorney pursue contempt for you. Making a frivolous request could hurt you more than it would help, so let a lawyer analyze whether requesting a contempt citation is in your best interests.

Divorce Matters Can Help

Obtaining a divorce is only half the battle. If you are struggling to get your ex to follow the terms of your divorce, then you might need to file for a contempt citation. Contact Divorce Matters today. Our Denver contempt of court divorce lawyers have helped countless people over the past years.

Contact us today by calling 720-580-6745 or sending us a message.

If I Get a Raise, Will My Child Support Increase?

Life happens, and because of this, a child support order is not permanent. Sometimes a parent may find themselves in a new job where they are earning more or they may receive a significant raise at work. On the other hand, sometimes circumstances go the other way, and a parent may find they’ve lost their job. Whatever your circumstances are, if you have a child support order in place there is definitely a chance that at some point it will need to be modified.

To modify a child support order, there has to be at least a 10% difference in the existing child support order and there is no mechanism in place that automatically changes a child support order when a change in circumstance occurs. If a change needs to be reviewed, you need to file a motion to modify child support with the court.

The short answer? You may have to pay more if you receive a raise at work. However, this is not necessarily a given. The difference between the existing child support order and the potential new one has to be greater than 10%. The court also needs to receive a motion to modify child support before the order will change.

Some other situations where child support may be modified:

  • A change in child custody and visitation
  • Reduced child care costs as a child gets older
  • Emancipation of a child

If you believe you need help with a modification of child support, contact the attorneys at Divorce Matters. We also offer a free child support and maintenance calculator app if you need help determining potential changes, our app can be found in both the Google Play and iOS stores, click here to learn more.

Securing your Visitation Rights

If you are the parent of one or more young children, a child custody order is likely part of your divorce settlement. When parents do not have equal parenting time under their custody order, the non-custodial parent may have visitation rights.

As a parent with visitation rights, you have the right to spend time with your child during your allotted time with him or her. When your former partner’s actions infringe on your visitation rights, you have the right to fight back and the right to be with your child.

How the Court Determines Child Visitation Rights

In Colorado, the court determines a child’s custody order according to a set of factors that enable it to determine the arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. These factors include:

  • Both parents’ physical and mental health state;
  • The child’s medical, emotional, psychological, and academic needs;
  • The child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The child’s current living situation and the extent to which altering it would negatively impact the child; and
  • If the child is old enough to articulate a well-reasoned preference, the child’s preference may be considered.

What to Do if your Former Spouse is Keeping your Children from You

If you have a court order for a child custody arrangement, you and your former spouse are legally required to comply with it. Failure to do so is contempt of court and can subject a parent to criminal penalties.

Report your former spouse’s behavior to your family lawyer so there is a record of his or her actions. Do not escalate the situation with your former spouse by yelling, threatening, or trying to coax your child into taking your side.

Taking Legal Action to Enforce or Modify a Child Custody Order

An occasional missed visit is not something worth taking legal action over. When this happens, be willing to be flexible and work with your former partner to make up for the missed parenting time. When your former spouse consistently refuses to let your child spend time with you despite your court order requiring it, you need to take legal action.

Take action by filing a petition with the court to enforce your child custody order. When you do this, the court will step in to require your former partner to comply with the order. This could lead to the court modifying your child custody arrangement if it feels your child’s health or psychological well being is being harmed by the current situation. Beyond cases like this and cases where the child is relocating to a new permanent address, Colorado parents may only modify child custody orders every two years. You lawyer will determine whether you are eligible to file for a child custody modification and if so, work with you to draft and file the petition.

Work with an Experienced Colorado Family Lawyer

Asserting your rights in family court is much easier and typically, more successful when you work with an experienced Lakewood divorce attorney. To get started with a member of our team at Divorce Matters, contact our office to set up your initial legal consultation with us.