When couples consider getting divorced, they often have no idea how difficult the process can be. This is particularly true when there are children involved. If you are fighting for custody of your children, then a Colorado Springs child custody lawyer can help. Meanwhile, follow these tips for the most successful outcome.
When a couple with children gets divorced, it is easy to find information on the custody laws in your state, but when unmarried parents go their separate ways, a different set of rules apply. Seeking legal help for a custody issue in a non-divorce case may require the help of a Colorado Springs child custody lawyer.
This is the final article in a 5 part case study reviewing a battle for child custody in Colorado. If you'd like to review this series from the beginning start with Child Custody Case Study - Part 1 or review the case study facts.
Judge Bristol changed both Maggie Bright's residential custody and decision-making authority without applying Colorado law necessary when prior court orders are modified.
Was there any way that Judge Bristol's decision complied with Colorado law for modifications?
When any Colorado trial court first wades into the muck that is contested child custody when parents separate, the rules applied to key issues like decision-making and residential custody are vastly different than if those decisions are changed years after the parents' separation is finalized.
At first glance, however, that difference in Colorado law didn't seem to apply to Maggie Bright's case.
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.
There are many situations in life where it’s okay to express our anger, but when it comes to child custody, the best lawyers advise their clients to “choose your battles wisely”. If you find yourself in a nasty battle over the custody of your children, a Colorado Springs Child Custody Lawyer has some valuable advice to help take some of the venom out of custody negotiations, and keep the best interests of the children as your top priority.
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.
Are you dealing with an ex-spouse that won't comply with your custody order? This is not uncommon for families of divorce, especially when the lifestyles of the parents have changed. Whether it's a move, a job change or a new relationship, there are many reasons why divorced parents don't comply with existing custody arrangements. In many cases, the parents had a custody order but their parenting plan never really worked and now it is causing a lot of conflict.