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Highlands Ranch Family Law Blog

Research shows divorce has never been more morally acceptable

The way that society views broken marriage has changed over the years. It wasn't that many decades ago when a divorce meant almost certain social scrutiny, and in some cases, difficulty moving on with a healthy social life. Things have slowly changed, and people have come to terms with divorce as a tool for people to move beyond a failed marriage and toward new endeavors. According to recent research, divorce has never been more socially acceptable than it is today, which may come as a relief to Colorado spouses who are considering ending their own union.

The data comes from a review of Gallup polling, dating back to the 1950s. In the most recent poll, 73 percent of respondents stated that they find divorce "morally acceptable." That number is a significant change from the attitudes displayed in poll results from 1954, where 43 percent of respondents stated that they did not "believe" in divorce.

Great parenting is the best child custody prevention

Faced with an ongoing custody battle, many Colorado parents want to do everything in their power to improve their legal position. In reality, however, it is not the actions taken once a child custody case is underway but the actions taken in the years prior that matter the most. The best tips that a parent can receive concerning a child custody case involve nothing more than simple good parenting practices. Fortunately, those practices can bring plenty of benefit, regardless of whether a custody case arises.

One of the best things that a parent can do to improve one's custody stance is to be present and active in the lives of their children. That is sometimes easier said than done, since many families fall into the traditional roles under which one spouse acts as the breadwinner while the other rakes on the bulk of parenting duties. That arrangement may work out in a practical sense, but it leaves one parent at a distinct disadvantage in a custody fight. The parent who spends most of his or her time caring for the kids will be able to make a strong argument that the children have come to rely on that level of connection with that parent.

One state passes law to help grandparents gain child custody

When a Colorado family is faced with a crisis, grandparents are often a lifeline for their grandchildren. This is especially true in cases where one or both parents are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Having a loving grandparent who is willing to step in and provide a safe and loving home to a child can make a world of difference. Now, one state has passed legislation that gives grandparents preference in child custody matters where drugs play a role.

The law will go into effect in 2018 and will give grandparents an advantage in seeking custody of their grandchildren in cases where substance abuse poses a risk. Currently, many children in this situation are placed into foster care, even when there are family members willing to take the children in. The new law will give grandparents preferential status when a child needs to be cared for in a new setting after a parent has been deemed unable to provide adequate care.

How to divide a health savings account during a divorce

Property division is a primary focus for most divorcing spouses in Colorado, and for good reason. The outcome of the division of marital wealth will shape the financial lives of both parties for many years to come. That is why it is so important to account for all asset types during the early stages of a divorce. Failing to recognize or account for assets could mean that the value of those assets is lost. A prime example lies in health savings accounts, (HSAs) which are very often left out of the property division discussion.

A health savings account is an account that allows individuals to set aside money for anticipated health expenses without subjecting those funds to taxes. There are limits to the amount of money that can be placed in these accounts each year. Individuals who put money into an HSA can withdraw those funds for qualified medical expenses over the course of many years, even after they are no longer eligible to place money into the account, such as after retirement. Over the course of time, an HSA can turn into a valuable asset.

Child custody rights not guaranteed for same-sex couples

Now that the Supreme Court has settled the issue of same-sex marriage, many couples have settled into a happy state of married life. For some, adding to their family was a priority, and artificial insemination is a popular option to meet that goal. Unfortunately, same-sex parents in Colorado and elsewhere still face legal challenges when it comes to securing a parental link with their children. That has resulted in child custody issues and other legal matters that seek to extend the same parental rights to same-sex parents that are given to heterosexual couples.

Most states allow same-sex parents to be listed on a child's birth certificate, either voluntarily or as a result of legal challenges. However, there are two states that continue to refuse to do so, stating that only biological parents can be listed on a child's birth certificate unless an adoption takes place. This approach, however, is contradicted by the practice of allowing the husband of a woman who has conceived through artificial insemination to be listed as the resulting child's father on the birth certificate.

Supreme Court rules on military divorce retirement matters

Making the decision to end a marriage is a big step and one that no Colorado resident takes lightly. Among the more pressing concerns that arise in a military divorce is the division of retirement benefits. In a case that recently went before the United States Supreme Court, the matter of how those benefits can and cannot be divided became a central focus. The result could lead to additional cases being reopened across the nation.

The case centered on a man who retired from the Air Force and his wife of 13 years. When the couple divorced, their agreement stated that the wife would receive a 50 percent share of the man's retirement benefits. He retired a year after their divorce was made final, and the payments began as scheduled.

Could "nesting" be the next big child custody trend?

For Colorado parents who are divorcing and looking through their custody options, there are a number of different choices to evaluate and potential avenues to pursue. Those options are a good thing, as families have the ability to find a child custody solution that meets their particular set of needs. There are a number of creative options that are available, including a practice that has come to be known as "nesting."

The term nesting relates to the way that birds raise their young, with the babies staying in the nest and both parents coming and going to provide food and other necessities. In terms of human families, nesting involves allowing the children to remain in the family home, while both parents rotate in and out according to their established custody schedule. The practice has a number of advantages, but is not ideal for every family.

Research supports shared child custody approach

Faced with the need to divide parenting time and responsibilities, many Colorado parents are unsure where to begin. No loving parent wants to be separated from his or her child for any period of time, much less to assume the role of part-time parent. Fortunately, there are a number of different options available for parents who are willing to work toward a solution that is in the best interests of all parties. Shared child custody is one of those options and is an approach that is supported by a significant body of research.

Under a shared custody approach, parents commit to reaching a custody agreement under which a child or children are able to spend significant time with both parents. This is a significant departure from the approach used in past decades, where mothers often retained the bulk of child custody rights, and fathers were relegated to the role of occasional visitor. Shared custody promotes and maintains a strong bond between each child and both parents.

Making sure that divorce is the best path forward

Very few people expect to receive marital advice from a legal professional whose line of business is processing the end of marriages. In reality, however, very few divorce attorneys relish the thought of ending a marriage that could possibly be saved. Most approach their role as facilitating a fair and favorable divorce for couples who have exhausted all efforts to remain happily married. To that end, the following advice is offered in the hopes of giving Colorado spouses the tools needed to determine if divorce is truly the best course of action.

Simply considering divorce does not necessarily mean that a relationship is doomed to fail. Marriages go through ups and downs, and many issues that seem incredibly important at the time can be worked through and moved past. An important part of preserving a healthy marriage is making one's concerns clear as they arise. That means discussing issues with each other, instead of masking displeasure and making passive-aggressive attempts to remedy the situation.

Alex Jones of InfoWars asks to set aside child custody verdict

Some Colorado readers are familiar with the work of Alex Jones, the man behind the controversial website known as InfoWars. The site has made headlines over extreme claims and dubious conspiracy theories, some of which played a minor role in the recent presidential election. Jones and his former wife recently appeared in court on a child custody matter, and Alex Jones was unsuccessful in his efforts to maintain full custody of the couple's three children. Now, Jones has asked the court to set aside the recent jury verdict, prompting his ex-wife to speak out on the matter.

At issue in the case was the idea of parental alienation, which is defined as the act of one parent intentionally alienating a child or children against the other parent. It can take many different forms, and is a practice that can be difficult to prove in a court of law. In the case of Alex and Kelly Jones, the mother was able to present a list of actions to support her claim that her children had been turned against her by their father.

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Brandon Ceglian

Brandon Ceglian's practice focus is family law, landlord-tenant law / real estate, civil litigation, criminal / DUI, and collections. View Attorney Profile

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