THE COURT AND CASE EVALUATOR CASUALLY DISREGARDED AND EVEN TWISTED AROUND REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE AGAINST THE FATHER
When a child is abused by a parent, most people have a difficult time even getting their heads around the idea. How could a grown person commit such an act against an innocent child, particularly one that is so young and trusting?
Maggie Bright had those exact thoughts when she presented her evidence of child abuse to the court. When she presented her testimony before Judge Bristol, she was sure that the facts, her supporting evidence and suspicions would at least get a fair hearing. But they didn’t.
Marrison Family Law first had to figure out why Judge Bristol and the evaluator Dr. Holmes ignored her abuse claims. Was she a bad witness? Did the state do an incomplete abuse investigation? Was the father’s evidence that strong? There had to be some reason, and answers needed to be found.
This is part 3 of the Child Custody Case Study. To have the best understanding of this case study please refer back to the previous articles starting with this one - Child Custody Case Study: The Facts
Part 3 covers how the court failed to give Maggie Bright enough parenting time, and ignored a public policy to facilitate frequent and regular contact between parents and their children.
When Judge Bristol came back with his bombshell orders of April 1 and April 20, 2012, there was not a single earlier decision about custody, parenting and decision-making that was left untouched.
Maggie Bright was shocked. But in the midst of this shock, her attorneys at Marrison Family Law saw judicial error and opportunity. They strongly suggested that Judge Bristol’s decision was an abuse of discretion and against public policy when so little parenting time was awarded to Maggie, and so heavily restricted for little apparent reason.
For couples in Colorado who choose to end their common law marriage, it is ultimately up the Colorado divorce courts to determine whether their marriage exists in the eyes of the law. However, there are some specific requirements outlined by Colorado courts.
Courts can’t just make up the rules as they go along. Our entire system of justice is based upon the idea that a judge will look at the evidence that both sides present, hear the evidence from any other witnesses, and then make a decision based upon that evidence, not personal speculation.
The appeal filed by Marrison Family Law in Colorado Springs claimed that the trial court essentially picked its “favorite” party here, the father. Judge Bristol ignored evidence presented by the evaluator, and gave no credibility to information presented by Maggie Bright.
By doing that, he basically abdicated his role as an impartial judge, and became a supporter, or an advocate.
Every judge knows that most cases where two parents have gone to court for custody will cause some discomfort to any children of the parties.
There is no way around it, which flows from the child’s uncomfortable and growing understanding that there will now be a drastic change in the cozy family dynamic that used to occupy every minute of a child’s day. Even the best Colorado Springs attorneys can only go so far to stanch the tears rolling down the face of a child whose relationship with his mother and father will change forever.
Every day, hard-working mothers and fathers with good intentions go into family court hoping that they will be heard. And every day, many of those same people walk out of court, shaking their heads, trying to figure out why they lost custody, or why their visitation rights were dramatically reduced.
The case of Bright v. Smith is just such an example where a loving mother was left trembling and in tears after a Colorado trial court allowed her child to be taken 1000 miles away and only permitted her to see her son under close supervision.
Financial insecurity is a major problem for many divorced women, particularly those who haven’t worked outside of the home in many years. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to see these women paying close attention to Colorado’s latest legislation about spousal maintenance. In some cases, Colorado’s new spousal maintenance laws will work in your favor but, like child support, they are subject to certain calculations and formulas and based on the combined income of the parties. If you find these formulas aren’t working in your favor, you may want to consider mediation before scheduling court date.
If you have reason to believe your ex-spouse could file for bankruptcy, you need to do what you can to protect your interests. This is particularly true when it comes to any pending property settlements or joint accounts. Things change after a Colorado divorce settlement, but that doesn't mean that you should face a penalty because of your ex-spouses mishaps. Whether you've learned about a potential bankruptcy from the court or through a mutual friend; don't bury your head in the sand, take the time to find out what's going on.
As a Colorado Springs family lawyer, I am often asked how to make divorce less expensive, or if it's even possible to maintain the same standard of living after a divorce. A lot depends on how amicable you and your spouse can be, and how you go about the process. An over-reliance on litigation can make a divorce very expensive, and that's not only because of the legal costs. In many cases, mediation is a much safer and more affordable route for couples, especially those with minor children.
We all know how quickly a relationship can deteriorate when one person is being unfaithful, which explains why infidelity is the most direct cause of divorce. When one spouse discovers that the other has been unfaithful, it can be incredibly difficult for the marriage to survive. In many cases, the cheated-upon spouse will head directly to a divorce attorney and seek a legal separation or divorce. As tempting as it may be to seek revenge by asking the courts to punish the cheater in some way, does the court even care about infidelity?