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What is Domestic Violence in a Colorado Family Law Case?

The phrase “domestic violence” is used often in Colorado divorce and child custody cases. Over the past years, the claims of domestic violence have dramatically increased in Colorado family law cases. What exactly qualifies as domestic violence? Colorado law defines domestic violence as: “an act of violence or a threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship, and may include any act or threatened act against a person or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.”

Over the years, the Colorado legislature has enacted laws that aim to protect victims of domestic violence in Colorado family law cases. When a Colorado judge is faced with an allegation of domestic violence, prior to issuing custody orders, the court must consider whether there is credible evidence to support that one of the parties has committed an act of domestic violence, has engaged in a pattern of domestic violence, or has a history of domestic violence.

If the court finds (by a preponderance of the evidence) that one of the parties has committed domestic violence, there are several Colorado laws that the court must abide, which include the following:
 Colorado law states it shall not be in the best interest of the child(ren) to order joint decision-making responsibility over the objection of the victim, unless the court finds that there is credible evidence of the ability of the parties to make decisions cooperatively in the best interest of the child in a manner that is safe for the abused party and the child(ren).
 Colorado law requires the court to consider the best interest of the child(ren) in light of the domestic violence finding.
 If a parent is absent or leaves home because of domestic violence committed by the other party, such absence shall not be held against the absent parent.
 When weighing the ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child(ren) and other party, the court shall not hold against a domestic violence victim any actions intended to protect the child(ren) from witnessing or being a victim of domestic violence.
 The court must consider the safety and well-being of the child(ren) and the abused party as a primary concern.
 The court must consider the conditions of parenting time to ensure the safety of the child(ren) and of the abused party.
 The court is allowed to order a party to submit to a professional domestic violence evaluation and to order domestic violence treatment.

Colorado laws make it clear that domestic violence is a high concern in family law cases. However, the other side of the coin is that because the law highlights domestic violence, some parties will exaggerate and/or make false domestic violence claims.

The attorneys at Burnham Law are skilled at litigating domestic violence. Whether it be proving that the opposing party has committed domestic violence or defending against a false accusation, Burnham Law has the tools and experience to zealously represent its clients. With experienced litigators, Burnham Law has a roster of attorneys who are effective in court. When needed, Burnham Law will retain experts to provide the court with valuable insight and opinions.

Whether you have been a victim of domestic violence or been falsely accused, Burnham Law is here to protect you and your relationship with your child(ren). Contact Burnham Law today, and hire the best.

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