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Broomfield Divorce Law Blog

Obtaining rights to a child outside of divorce

There are times when Colorado residents who are not going through a divorce may find themselves in a child custody case. For instance, it may be necessary to determine custody or visitation rights if the parents are not married. It may also be possible for grandparents or others who are close to a child to pursue custody or visitation rights.

If a child's parents are not married, state law usually awards custody to the mother unless the father takes action to dispute this. In cases when the mother is deemed to be a good parent, the father may be granted shared custody of the child or have visitation rights. Custody or visitation arrangements may be made by court order, or the parents may come to an agreement on their own subject to court approval.

Preparing financially for an upcoming divorce

Planning for divorce can be a tricky and difficult process for many people in Colorado and elsewhere around the country. While the emotional and logistical issues can seem especially overwhelming, the financial aspects of divorce are among the most challenging. This is especially true in situations where significant high-value assets are at stake, including investments, businesses, homes and other properties.

One of the most useful things that a person can do to prepare, especially in high-asset divorce cases, is to get his or her finances in order. Someone who is planning to get a divorce should immediately start carefully tracking his or her household expenses and income. This information is crucial for determining the division of assets and debts and awarding potential child or spousal support.

Children and divorce

A divorce can have a substantial emotional impact on children. However, there are certain things Colorado parents whose marriages are coming to an end can do to make the process easier.

Children should be told outright that there will be a divorce. The manner in which they are informed should be agreed upon by both parents. When explaining what is happening, it is important that the children's age and level of maturity are taken into account. It may not be wise to provide too much detail, but parents should be sure to give enough information so that their children will not wonder about the situation.

Factors that contribute to the likelihood of divorce

Some Colorado couples who are older than 50 might be facing divorce after 30 or even 40 years of marriage. However, while they are more likely to get divorced compared to previous generations, this age group is still the least likely to end their marriages.

There is a misconception that divorce among older couples might be due to retirement, children leaving home, or health problems, but a study by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research found that none of these were significant factors. However, the divorce rate was higher for second marriages than first marriages. This appeared to be the case even with long second marriages. People in second marriages that had lasted 40 years or longer were almost three times more likely to divorce than people in first marriages of the same length. Owning property or having assets of more than $250,000 were also factors that decreased the likelihood of divorce among people over 50.

Trump election triggers splits over political differences

Fights over money among married couples have new competition from political disagreements after the election of Donald Trump. Couples in Colorado suffering from differences of political opinion are part of a new trend identified by researchers and divorce attorneys. According to polls done by Wakefield Research, the previous six months have produced a spike in political fights within relationships. Over 20 percent of people in relationships reported more tension over politics than financial issues, which have long been a common source of divorce.

Members of the millennial generation tended to be the most sensitive to politics. A poll revealed that 22 percent of younger couples split because of politics. Overall, 10 percent of people of all ages ended their marriages or relationships because of the heightened level of political discord in the country.

Dealing with substance abuse during a custody dispute

Colorado child custody disputes can become even more complex if one parent is worried about the other parent's alcohol and drug use when the children are around. A parent who believes that the children are at risk for harm due to the other parent's substance abuse may request a modification to the child support order to keep the children safe.

The court will generally only take action when alcohol or drug abuse prevents a parent from being able to care for the children or puts the children's well-being in danger. If a parent raises concern during a child custody hearing, the court may decide to investigate the substance abuse allegations. If the substance abuse allegations are true, the court will have to determine if the issue has an impact on their ability to parent.

What the law says about blocking contact with a child

Noncustodial parents in Colorado have many options when it comes to staying in touch with their children. Thanks to advances in technology, seeing or speaking with a child may be as easy as using FaceTime or sending an email. In some cases, however,a custodial parent may wish to limit or block a noncustodial parent's access to his or her child.

Typically, a judge will not make such an order unless there is evidence of abuse or neglect. Absent a court order, a custodial parent generally cannot block the noncustodial parent from talking to or seeing his or her child if he or she has the right to do so. If a parent has issues with excessive calling or texting, a court may put the noncustodial parent on a phone schedule or create other policies to remedy the problem.

Summer visitation suggestions for parents

If a Colorado couple divorces when their children are young, summer visitation schedules are often something that kids look forward to as they can spend greater amounts of time with the parent that they do not live with. However, as children age, they may be increasingly reluctant to spend time away from their friends during the long break.

To help make summer visitation easier and more enjoyable for older children, non-custodial parents should consider planning special outings, visiting relatives their children don't see as much and integrating their schedule with their children's. Special outings like visiting a theme park or going to a local festival can make the idea of spending time away from friends more attractive.

The effect of emancipation on child support

Colorado children are generally considered to be emancipated when they reach the age of 19. Parents who pay or receive child support payments may want to know how the emancipation of a child before he or she reaches the age of majority may affect those payments.

There are a number of reasons a child of minor age can be emancipated. They may include military service, economic independence, marriage or a total abandonment of their parent's home.

Planning for divorce by reducing risks during separation

When their marriages are breaking down, some Colorado couples opt for a trial separation rather than immediately entering divorce proceedings. Though valid and worth exploring, the parties should carry out certain actions during a separation for the sake of their children and their own protection and financial well-being.

Probably the most critical and oft-overlooked step is the signing of a formal separation agreement. This is not a divorce agreement in that couples still have the opportunity to reconcile, but it may protect each spouse from financial abuse. Along with this document, the separated spouse will want to collect information on all assets held jointly. These documents will providing a starting place for asset valuation, debt division and business valuation during a possible divorce.

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Broomfield, CO 80020