Hey, Guys, Jessica Lasky here from Burnham Law to talk to you about how domestic violence can affect divorce cases and custody battles in Colorado.
First, one of the things that you need to remember is, unless you are an actual victim of domestic violence, do not play that card. There are legitimate victims out there, and you can fight your battle honestly and openly with a good lawyer.
Domestic violence cases are serious, and they should be taken seriously, and no one should use them to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody battle at any time.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is extraordinarily difficult to go through the divorce process with someone who has been abusive to you because they want to continue to manipulate, coerce, and control you through this process to bully you into parenting time or allocation of assets. You don’t want to fight against them. You just want to be done. And that’s why you really need a strong advocate on your side to protect you from those impulses to just cut and run.
For domestic violence victims, one of the things the court looks at is whether or not there is an actual reasonable fear that you have in legitimate domestic violence allegations because you shouldn’t have to make decisions with your abuser about things like children, making major decisions. So, if the court finds that there is legitimate domestic violence in this relationship, they can award the victim sole decision making. And that’s important because, again, you shouldn’t have to make joint decisions with someone who is going to coerce and control you in any way they can.
On the flip side of that, if you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you also need someone advocating for you to show that even if you’ve done this, it is not going to affect you and your relationship going forward because you can put your children’s needs first. There are things that we can help you do to rehabilitate yourself in the court’s eyes to make sure that they see you as an equal parent.
We see sometimes, and that was sort of my admonishment at the beginning of this, that people actually use the system to try to get an advantage, and what ends up happening is, it blows up in their faces. They lose parenting time. They lose decision-making rights. They can be looked at as alienating their children. And it has such a negative impact on your case, and it is so hard to rebuild your credibility with the court if you make false allegations like that or if you try to play up things that have happened or use things from the past that were so long ago before your kids were even born.
So, domestic violence has a significant effect on custody in Colorado, and that’s something that you really need to talk to an attorney about because you don’t have to use that if you can resolve the case. But you may need to because you won’t have a healthy relationship with this person going forward, and you shouldn’t be forced to make decisions with them.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, need advice and great strategy, call Burnham Law, and we’ll be happy to help you.