Family Law Cases Involving Children

In Colorado, there are essentially two different kinds of cases that involve children. These cases are called allocation or parental responsibilities, which are actions between parents or third-parties that involve children. There are also cases filed as divorce cases where the parties have children.

As a lawyer, I spend much of my time arguing for the best interest of children. Young children and adolescents are impacted in these kinds of cases in different ways; most of the time, young children will continue to hope their parents will get back together, while adolescents tend to rely more on their friends or outsiders rather than family to help adjust to this massive change in their lives.

Children going through a divorce or a custody situation are going to have to deal with the consequences of a fractured home of parents that are not going to be living in the same household. Maybe mom and dad are not going to be involved in decision making the same way. In many of these cases, a parent moves to another state or out of town, and the parenting time requires the child or children to be shuffled back and forth—all of which are major adjustments for children.

Depending upon the age of the child, there’s going to be dynamic changes to that child’s life and how they can adjust to these changes. I feel that if a parent really cares about their children it’s important to sit down and discuss what’s going to happen in the future with them, and that they get their children the kind of emotional help they need to be able to deal with the future of a separated home.

Effects of Combat on Military Divorces

Service Member & Military Spouse Divorce Help

war and divorce

Military personnel are often put stressful situations during training and during deployment. Sometimes, these job stressors can have a huge impact on your marriage that may lead to divorce. Gordon N. Shayne is a skillful divorce attorney that is sensitive to the unique demands of military life. He provides exceptional legal counsel that is committed to protecting your rights during your military divorce.

The Effect of Combat on a Family

Service members in all branches of the military are required to undergo high levels of stress on a daily basis when preparing for battle. After experiencing the stress of combat, service members may endure any number of emotional or behavioral problems, including:

  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Depression
  • Other trauma-related mental illness

The stress of these trauma-related behavioral struggles significantly impacts divorce rates in military families. However, because behavioral health concerns can have a significant impact on child custody hearings and spousal maintenance negotiations, it is crucial to have a lawyer to protect your rights throughout military divorce proceedings. Gordon N. Shayne knows what is at stake in your divorce. He is knowledgeable about the specific procedures and rights military service members have regarding custody and other post-decree matters. With personal care and attention, he aggressively protects your best interests and helps your family reach a satisfactory resolution.

Initiating Divorce as a Military Spouse

Divorce can be initiated by husbands and wives of military service members even if their partner is deployed. However, there are specific procedures that apply to a military spouse. Divorce attorney Gordon N. Shayne provides expert military legal assistance & family law help when you need to file for divorce from your spouse who is in the military.

Legal Assistance & Family Law Help for Military Families

When you choose Gordon N. Shayne as your military divorce lawyer, he provides the guidance and advice that comes from over 33 years of legal experience. Mr. Shayne understands how the court may divide assets, child custody, benefits and award spousal maintenance or child support with respect to military households. For proficient legal assistance with military divorce in Colorado Springs, CO, contact Gordon N. Shayne today.


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Colorado military divorce.
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Military Divorce Law and Retirement Benefits in Colorado Springs, CO

Proficient Military Divorce Attorney

Retirement and military divorce

Because military benefits depends on the branch of military, the duration of service, and the attained rank before retiring, it is important to seek the help of an proficient divorce attorney that can assess your case and determine benefits eligibility after a military divorce. For over 33 years, Gordon N. Shayne has provided effective and exceptional legal counsel to clients seeking to protect their best interests during difficult times. Mr. Shayne gives his undivided attention to every military divorce case in order to provide the best possible legal advice and has an extensive knowledge of the complexities of military divorce in Colorado.

Military Divorce Law: Why You Need a Lawyer

In Colorado, military benefits are most commonly determined after a service member has reached eligibility to retire. The division of any military retirement, in a Colorado divorce or legal separation, will follow the rules and case law of Colorado, not the military. If the service member obtaining a divorce has not reached eligibility yet, military divorce law states that an order will be included to reserve jurisdiction on the issue until the service member retires. If the service member has reached retirement age, the division of benefits will occur immediately. Individuals in the military with over 20 years of active duty service may be entitled to certain benefits after retirement. However, if the service member is divorced or is seeking divorce, benefits may need to be legally divided between departing spouses. These benefits may include:

  • Retirement pay
  • VA benefits
  • Life insurance
  • Health care

Division of military retirement benefits are determined using the time rule coverture formula. This formula takes into account the number of months the couple was married as well as how long the couple was married while the service member was on active duty. Gordon N. Shayne is an extremely qualified attorney who can calculate of the time rule coverture formula to ensure that the division of benefits in your divorce serves your best interests.

Contact an Experienced Military Divorce Attorney

Gordon N. Shayne is a skillful military divorce attorney with over 33 years of hard-earned legal experience. He can help you navigate the civilian legal process to protect your military retirement benefits after a divorce. Contact him today for a free* consultation.


Protect your legal parental rights.
Call Gordon N. Shayne for FREE
consultation and get the legal advice you
need to resolve your Colorado child custody dispute.

Experience Counts

*for those individuals interested in retaining legal counsel and who have the financial means to hire an attorney

Duties of Parents to Co-Parent

Colorado is governed by the best interest standard. The best interest standard when you’re talking about children, parenting time, and decision making is what the court is going to consider in entering its orders in the absence of an agreement.

Now parents are free to come up with parenting plans in custody and divorce cases, but if they don’t come up with agreements, the court is going to apply Colorado Revised Statute 14-10:124 in determining decision making and parenting time. In all cases involving the best interest of the children, the court must make a decision based upon the factors in the best interest law. That means the court will do an analysis to determine what is in the child’s best interest and what has been the actions of the parent to co-parent. Are the parents able to get along? Are they able to discuss the child’s well-being together and make decisions together? There is always a duty no matter what for both parties to encourage and foster a loving relationship between the child or children and the other parent.

This means that a judge ultimately will decide is a parent involving the other parent in decisions and parenting of a child. Is the other parent supporting the child’s relationship with the other parent? And often times, we find out that a parent is retaliating or vindictive in keeping a child from the other parent or denying the other parent contact. An example of that is when a parent is intentionally cutting off the phone calls between the child and the other parent. That’s not encouraging and fostering a loving relationship between the child and the other parent.

So you should be mindful that your actions and your behavior when you’re going through a custody case and you’re going to be receiving orders in the years to come, you always want to encourage and foster a loving relationship between your children and the other parent.

UCCJEA and a Child’s Home State

In Colorado and most of the 50 states regarding the definition of a child’s home state is dictated by the Uniform Child Custody Judicial Enforcement Act. This act says that a child’s home state is where the child has lived for at least 182 days prior to any court action.

If a parent gets proper orders or permission from the other parent to leave Colorado with a child or children, the question becomes what happens next? A parent can register the case in the child’s new state. An example would be if the parents went through a divorce in Colorado and the father agreed that he would have parenting time, but the mother would be the primary parent and wishes to relocate to the state of Georgia to be closer to her family, and the father has consented to that, and the judge has issued an order approving that.

After six months passes from the time that the orders were entered in Colorado, the mother may be able to make application in the state of Georgia to transfer the case from Colorado to Georgia, arguing that it’s more convenient to have the Georgia court address post-decree disputes, custody disputes and visitation disputes in Georgia now that the children have been away.

By the same token, let’s assume that parents have no custody orders and they’ve just moved to Colorado. Before they can file any action in the state of Colorado, the children have to be here for 182 consecutive days before it is appropriate to file any action here.

There are some exceptions to that in cases where there are certain emergencies and that’s why it’s always good to consult with a lawyer regarding the filing of custody actions in Colorado when it’s questionable as to how long the children have been here and what proof you have that Colorado is the children’s home state.

How to Hire the Best Family Law Attorney

I’d like to talk about the importance of hiring a family law attorney in your divorce or child custody case, or post-decree motion that you have in family court in the state of Colorado.

Unlike criminal law where an attorney can be appointed by the court to represent you, in family law there is no such law or requirement. This means that it’ll be your responsibility to find your own lawyer. Hiring a lawyer is one of the most important decisions that you’re going to make in whatever family law matter you have.

When you’re sitting across from the lawyer during your interview, you should ask important questions about the lawyer’s experience. Is he a member of any specialized sections of the bar, such as the American Bar Association Family Law Section or the Colorado Bar Family Law Section? Does he regularly attend and go to seminars and is updated on the law?

Overall, you should be confident this lawyer has a lot of courtroom experience, knows how to deal with evidence, and most importantly, when he files your case and he is representing you. You should have a feeling that the lawyer has your back, that this lawyer, who is specially trained and is going to be an advocate for you, is going to give you the kind of legal advice that is going to assist you through your case and achieve the goals that you have established.

Colorado Ruling Allows Restraining Orders After Abuse From Another State

A recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling allows for a Colorado court to issue a restraining order when the actions of domestic or sexual abuse occurred in another state. This is a very important ruling that protects victims who may be going through a divorce or child custody case in Colorado. Often times, the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault has fled another state to avoid the perpetrator and risk future harm. A restraining order or civil protective order seeks to prevent the perpetrator away from the victim at home or place of business. A violation of a civil protective order may be a crime under certain circumstances. Since Colorado law does not allow a private attorney the right to file a restraining order on behalf of a client, it is extremely important to know how each county allows for a victim to seek such relief.

When a parent has been the victim of domestic abuse, whether that is physical, emotional or even financial, it may have tremendous impact on what a judge can do in a child custody hearing. As an example, if a judge finds that a parent has committed domestic abuse or domestic violence, the court has discretion to order that the abused parent be granted “sole decision making.” Sole decision-making would allow the victimized parent to make critical decisions as to children’s medical, education and spiritual upbringing, without having to make these kinds of decisions jointly with the parent who is deemed, “abusive.” More importantly, whenever there is evidence of domestic or sexual abuse, a court can limit or restrict access to children of the relationship. A highly skilled and thorough Family Law Attorney who specializes in these kinds of cases can conduct an evaluation of the evidence and better inform clients of the options that are available. Because most of these cases result in contested hearings before a judge in court, it is critical to form a strong persuasive legal strategy so that a domestic violence victim receives not only the best advice, but also a plan of attack to protect the victims in an impactful and effective manner. With over 37 years of experience in these kinds of matters, Gordon Shayne, can provide aggressive and successful legal representation.

What Does “Best Interests of the Child” Mean?

This post will discuss Colorado’s law that pertains to parenting and to the best interest of the children and questions that are asked about whether or not the law favors mothers over fathers or fathers over mothers. The best interest statute in Colorado was really crafted to not play any favorites with one gender or the other, and the statute itself, which is Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-124 recognizes that children should have both parents involved in their lives regardless of gender. That doesn’t mean that there are circumstances that would give a father more parenting time than a mother or vice versa, but is Colorado a state that favors fathers over mothers or mothers over fathers? I think the clear answer is no, it does not.

It’s always important to talk to an attorney who’s been doing these cases for a very long time before you step into the courtroom and have an unrealistic expectation that because you’re a mom or because you’re a dad, you’re going to get preferential treatment or more parenting time than the other parent, and I think it’s important to understand that the law doesn’t play favorites. What it does is say that children are entitled to have both parents involved in their lives, involved in their decisions, and equal parenting time whenever possible.

Questions About Attorney Conduct

Lots of clients call here and ask questions about, “What do I do when I’ve had an attorney working on my case and the attorney is not returning my phone calls, not sending me email responses, and I have no idea what’s going on in my case?” It could be a divorce case, a legal separation, a child custody case, what have you.

My response to that is this. Whenever you’re hiring an attorney in any of these kinds of matters, you need to be comfortable with your lawyer, and you need to discuss, going into the case, how that lawyer operates. Is the lawyer going to return emails promptly? What happens if the lawyer is in court or mediation? How will I get my questions answered?

In this office, we offer a 24/7 phone line, and I have very experienced staff and a paralegal who’s been involved in family cases for many, many years, who will answer a lot of the questions that clients have while I’m in court or unavailable, and if you are not getting the proper service from your attorney, or your attorney is telling you what to do rather than you telling your attorney what you want to see happen, maybe it’s time to consider changing lawyers to someone you’re more comfortable with or can work with.

If you are in that situation and you are looking to hire an attorney to jump in and take over your case, remember to bring as many of the court documents with you when you see the new lawyer, so that that lawyer is not surprised by any of the litigation history or upcoming court dates.

How long does it take to get a Divorce In Colorado?

Lots of folks call our office and they ask, “How long is it going to take to get a divorce in Colorado?” Generally, divorce cases in Colorado are going to depend upon the jurisdiction that you’re in. If you’re in El Paso County, it’s probably within a timeframe of four to seven to eight months before you’ll be able to get a hearing on a contested divorce. Let me tell you what that is. A contested divorce or legal separation means that the parties do not have total agreements on all issues.

Basically, that means this. Under our law, if the parties have an agreement of all financial disputes, the division of property, debts, a spousal support, then they need to prepare a separation agreement in writing after financial disclosures are completed. If the parties do that and there are no children, they can easily obtain an uncontested dissolution of marriage hearing.

If the parties have children, the court is going to expect them to have a parenting plan in addition to a separation agreement that covers the children. This means to the court that all disputed issues have been resolved and the court will schedule an uncontested hearing. Uncontested hearing will allow you to get to court faster and will use up less time and money or expenses in attorney’s fees when all disputed issues are resolved.

I believe that everyone who’s involved in one of these processes with the stress that’s involved, both dealing with financial issues and the children, should always try to reach total agreements both with the financial disputes and the parenting disputes. That is something that I think that the courts recognize as well.