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Boulder Family Law Blog

Same-sex couples and child custoday in Colorado

While the news surrounding same-sex marriage isn't as prevalent as it was just a few months ago, that doesn't stop the fact that there are serious issues still plaguing same-sex couples in Colorado. One of these issues surrounds the instance of children who are being raised by same-sex couples. Some people might think that this isn't a good thing, but many same-sex couples would disagree.

It is interesting to note that the traditional family dynamic is changing. In 2000, the U.S. Census noted that less than 24 percent of homes in the country had a wife, a husband and minor children. That fact alone has many people worried.

Child custody evaluations can include investigators in Colorado

When you are going through a troublesome divorce and have children with your ex, the child custody aspect of the divorce can often become an area of contention. Courts in Colorado can appoint a Child and Family Investigator to take a look at the case and give the court a recommendation about what he or she feels is best for the child. This recommendation can include suggestions about decision-making and parenting time.

The Child and Family Investigator is an independent party in the proceedings. This person doesn't work for either parent. Instead, the investigator is an outside party who is only thinking of the children. The investigator is usually a mental health professional or an attorney.

Military moves might affect child custody

Last week, we discussed how some military families choose to adopt and covered some of the basic information about those adoptions. Keeping in that same theme of military members, we are going to talk about something every service member is familiar with -- relocating. Our readers in Colorado might not realize this, but just because a person is in the military doesn't mean that he or she can just move a child who is part of a child custody agreement. Instead, they have to go through the court to ensure that they are relocating the child with the court's permission.

There are several factors that go into a court's decision about whether a child should be allowed to relocate or not. One of those factors is why the parent wants to move. For a person in the military, the reason is simple -- orders to relocate. Another question that has to be answered is if the other parent has an objection to the move and if so, why.

Are there benefits for military families in Colorado who adopt?

For some service members, adding a new member to the family is something that is desirable. In some cases, that is done through adoption. Our readers in Colorado might find it interesting to know that the military offers specific benefits and allowances for service members who adopt a child.

What is the Adoption Reimbursement Program?

Family law: Factors affecting military divorce

Going through a divorce as a military service member can be complicated. In addition to knowing about the laws pertaining to divorce in the jurisdiction in which you will file, there are several other considerations you must think about. Our military readers in Colorado might be interested in learning about some of the things that military members have to think about when they are ready to end a marriage.

Generally, service men and women who are on active duty have the protection of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. That act gives members of the military who are serving on active duty to have divorce proceedings stayed or put on hold for 90 days. This is a protection that service members can request if their duties prevent them from answering the divorce complaint. In some cases, the court might grant another stay when that 90-day stay ends, but the court can't prevent the divorce from occurring.

Child custody arrangements for teens have special considerations

Many parents think that teenagers are outgoing and want to be left on their own. While that is true for some teenagers, these children sometimes need special parental attention in the event of divorce. Because teenagers tend to have an active social life and very distinct desires, coming up with a suitable parenting plan can prove to be rather challenging. Our Colorado readers might be interested in learning about some points that make custody arrangements for teenagers interesting.

One point about custody agreements for teens is that the agreement must be flexible. Teenagers likely can't be bound by rigid custody arrangements because they would miss out on valuable times with their friends. For example, a teen who is involved in sports at school couldn't miss games, events or practices on a regular basis to go to a parent's home that is hours away.

Child custody and domestic violence in Colorado

For victims of domestic violence in Colorado who have children, one of the most troublesome thoughts is whether the child will have to spend time with the abusive person once the parent's relationship with that person is terminated. As odd as it sounds, there is a possibility that a parent accused of abuse could still be awarded parenting time or decision making responsibilities.

Of course, the main responsibility of the family court judge is to decide what is in the child's best interests. The judge has the responsibility to ensure the child is safe. The judge has to look at a variety of factors to decide what is best for the child.

Simplified divorce might be possible for some in Colorado

Anyone who is going through a divorce likely has felt the pang of dread that comes with the thoughts of having to battle with the person you once loved. People tend to think about the high-stress divorces that are highlighted in movies and on television. Not all divorces have to be on the "War of the Roses" level. Some divorces can be a joint effort to end a marriage.

In Colorado, people who don't have children and meet certain requirements can file for a simplified divorce. Since Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, one party simply has to say that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Clergy moving away from legal marriages might affect family law

When some Christians get married, they turn to the pastor or priest of their church to perform the ceremony. In those cases, the pastor or priest usually officiates the ceremony and then signs the form that is filed with the government to legalize the union. Many Christian leaders, and Christians as a whole, are saying it is time for that tradition to stop. That, however, could greatly impact the state of marriage in Colorado.

The majority of respondents to a survey conducted by LifeWay say that marriage shouldn't be regulated by the state. Almost half say that the state's recognition of marriage and the religious wedding shouldn't be intertwined. A little over a third of pastors say that clergy shouldn't be involved in the licensing of a marriage.

Same-sex couples and Social Security benefits

As many of our readers know, Colorado is one of the states that has legalized same-sex marriage. This means that same-sex couples who are married and live in Colorado, regardless of where they were married, can enjoy the same rights and benefits as those who are in opposite-sex marriages in the state. One of these rights is to receive Social Security survivor benefits and spousal benefits for couples who qualify for the benefits.

For same-sex couples who are married in a state that has legalized the unions, Social Security benefits are available. Spousal benefits are reserved for spouses that have been married for one year. Survivor benefits are reserved for those who have been married at least nine months.

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