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Colorado Springs Family Law Blog

Even in Colorado, parental pot usage can affect custody

With recreational marijuana use legal now at the state level here in Colorado, some parents mistakenly believe that they can smoke weed or consume THC-infused edibles with impunity. But for parents locked into contested child custody battles, the decision to use marijuana could be turned against you when determining custody or even visitation rights.

There are a few reasons for that, with the most glaring being that marijuana is still illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug with no acceptable medical uses — just like heroin. There are few people who would argue that the two drugs are on equal footing, but unless and until some major changes are made at the federal level, a parent's marijuana use can cost them dearly.

How the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can delay your divorce

When you're a member of the armed forces, especially at a time of war or when a natural disaster hits, you're constantly subject to being deployed to a foreign land or another part of the country. Your unit can even be re-activated to respond to a crisis in the years after you retire. The last thing that you need dropped in your lap when you're either preparing to deploy or off fighting a war is divorce papers.

Fortunately, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) affords you special legal rights that protect you from having to put fighting for your country on the back burner just to respond to a divorce filing or child custody dispute.

Are moms preferred when it comes to custody in Colorado?

There was once a time when it seemed like the mom was the preferred parent after a divorce. This is no longer the case. While it may have once been the standard practice for the children of divorced parents to stay primarily with mom and regulating dad to every other weekend visits, like most everything, the times are changing. With both dads and divorce courts noticing that each parent plays a significant role in children’s lives, custody decision have increasingly become more level.

The time that parents spend with their children after a divorce has long been called “custody.” This term now seems to be changing to “parenting time.” While moms are still receiving the majority of the time with the children after a divorce, this is not a pre-determined assumption by the court.

What to expect at your Colorado Springs child custody hearing

The sheer thought of the heading into a child custody hearing can be nerve-wracking. If you know what to expect and prepare for it, however, you'll be able to handle what comes much more easily.

When you enter the courtroom, it will be relatively small in comparison to ones that you see used for criminal trials on television. There will be fewer people in the room, as well.

What impacts a judge's decision in child relocation cases?

When you and your ex split up, while it's commonplace for you two to maintain your own separate residences, many couples stick around in the same area. As you start a new chapter in your life, though, you may feel inclined to pick up and move elsewhere. While there are many factors that may motivate you to relocate, it may not be as easy as you hoped that it would be to do, especially if you have kids.

There are many reasons a parent may wish to relocate to a different area when they divorce. They may wish to live in an area that has more affordable housing, that offers better job prospects or an ability be closer to family members. While a Colorado family law judge may understand how these could improve your life, they'll likely want to make sure that it's in your child's best interests to approve your relocation request as well.

What happens to a military pension after a divorce?

When military couples decide to divorce, one of the first topics that both spouses end up wanting to learn more about is what will happen with the service member's pension once they split up. This is especially important for military members who have spent their entire careers on active duty. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) was passed into law in 1982 to address this.

Even before this bill was signed into law, any service member who had spent 20 years or more on active duty was eligible to receive a pension for the remainder of their life. Once USFSPA was signed into law, all military retirement pensions became marital property. Therefore, they are divided up in accordance with Colorado state law -- just like the other assets of a military couple divorcing in this state.

Communication can make your post-divorce holidays more memorable

Divorced parents' feelings tend to fluctuate during the holidays. They may be merry as they look to decorate or shop for Christmas, then feel a sense of loneliness imagining having to spend what used to be a family-filled holiday all alone without their former spouse or kids. Children of divorce may have equally fluctuating feelings during the holiday season.

Parents can minimize the impact that their divorce has on their kids by being more effective and proactive communicators with their ex. Although you two may have a schedule in place that calls for one thing, there may be something that you want your child to be included in. By maintaining an amicable relationship with your ex, you may be able to work out an exception to the schedule that exists.

How can a parenting coordinator help your family?

Many aspects of divorce are hard to deal with, but perhaps the most complicated and difficult parts are issues that involve your children. Parents want the best for their children and going through a divorce can put a lot of stress on parents and children alike. There are many elements of divorce that involve your kids you will need to think about.

Fortunately, there are ways parents can make this process simpler and less distressing for themselves and their kids. One smart way to handle divorce involving kids is by hiring a parenting coordinator to help navigate the different parts of parenting that go along with divorce. But what exactly does a parenting coordinator do and how can they help your family?

When parents who fail to pay child support get put in jail

When a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support, it's their obligation to do in a timely fashion. If they fail to do so for an extended period of time, then it's possible that they may be held in contempt of court. If this happens, then the nonpaying parent may be incarcerated and face stiff fines.

Before a family law judge orders for a nonpaying parent to be sent to jail, they'll typically tally up all the support that they owe as well as any additional fines or penalties. They'll also seek to find out whether the nonpaying parent has a job or whether other factors are preventing them from paying the support that they owe.

What is birdnesting, and how can it help kids cope with divorce?

Ask anyone who's divorcing and they'll likely tell you that it's a difficult process, especially if their kids are involved. If you consult parenting books about how to help your child cope with your split, then they'll likely tell you that the best thing that you can do is to prioritize their well-being. While keeping your cool around your ex is a step in the right direction, employing the "birdnesting" approach to child rearing is another one.

If you haven't heard of "birdnesting," it involves the child remaining in the family home. The parents alternate living with the child according to a pre-designated schedule at that one house. Most moms or dads who use this approach will stay at an apartment that they both share when the other parent is with the kids at the family's house.

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