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Judge suspended in controversial child custody matter

When it comes to a parent's biggest fear, having their child fall ill or suffer a serious injury is often at the top of that list. Close after that would be losing their right to parent their child, and having a son or daughter removed from their home. While this outcome may seem unlikely for most parents, it is important to understand that a child custody matter can quickly change direction, and can have unintended and unexpected results, in Colorado or elsewhere.

An example is found in the removal of three children from their parents' home, and the subsequent suspension of a family court judge. The matter began when the court found that because the parents had allowed their children to witness acts of domestic violence, the children should be placed in foster care. That led to the removal of 5-year-old twins and their older half-sister.

Once in foster care, the half-sister began speaking out about acts of sexual abuse. An investigation led to allegations against her stepfather, which were eventually found to be unsubstantiated. It was later discovered that the stepdaughter had been talking about abuse suffered at the hands of her biological father, and not her stepfather. One of the twins then disclosed evidence of sexual abuse. This time, the investigation led to criminal charges against the foster father.

The children remain in foster care, even though there was no evidence that their biological father (and stepfather of the older child) did anything that would constitute sexual abuse. The foster father remains behind bars awaiting trial for abusing the younger girl. The judge in the child custody matter has been suspended for her role in removing the children from their home. As this case illustrates, custody battles can take very sudden and unexpected turns, whether in Colorado or any other state.

Source:, "Before suspension, judge put 5-year-olds in foster care. Now foster dad is charged with sexual abuse", Fernando Alfonso III, April 7, 2017

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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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J. Adam Beckman

Adam Beckman’s areas of focus are family law, adoptions and prenuptial agreements, and criminal law/DUI. View Attorney Profile


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Daniel Zolnikov practices in the areas of HOA, debt collections, landlord tenant, civil litigation and construction law. View Attorney Profile