Several weeks ago I was watching a news piece on Channel 9 News (an NBC affiliate in Denver) about family law. The reporter asked a family attorney whether there’s anything people can do to modify a parenting agreement if something extreme is happening with custody arrangement (say, if one parent is violating the parenting agreement).
The attorney gave what I consider to be a very unhelpful — and incorrect — answer: she said that the Courts are shut down so there’s not much you can do.
In fact, although we are all under orders to stay at home as much as possible and it is true that the Courts are only considering extreme cases at the moment, there are steps you can take right away that will be effective, especially if you feel that you or your children may be in danger.
Dealing with Parenting Agreements
In my last blog post, I indicated that if you believe your kid(s) are in imminent physical or emotional danger while they are at your ex-spouse’s home, there are indeed steps you can take despite the stay-at-home or safer-at-home order. If this is your situation, please call our office right away at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation. We’ll review your options, including the most extreme option of filing a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time, and figure out what makes the most sense in your particular arrangement.
If your situation is not quite as dire, say, your former spouse is simply violating the parenting agreement but you know your child(ren) are safe, there are still steps you can take to rectify the situation. Please call us or talk to an attorney to explore your options.
Dealing with Domestic Violence and Protection Orders
Several experts have predicted that we may see an uptick in domestic violence over the next several months as many of us hunker down at home in, admittedly, a stressful situation. I haven’t seen any numbers on this, but it makes sense to me that some situations at home could potentially begin to boil over.
If you find yourself in a domestic violence situation, or suspect that your children are exposed to one, it’s important to know that despite the fact that most businesses are shut down, the Court still considers requests for protection orders (“restraining orders”) to be very important and will expedite these requests. For example, I had a permanent protection order last week in the middle of the stay-at-home order. The Court felt protection orders are important enough to deal with during the stay-home order.
While some hearings have been held telephonically during the pandemic, this particular hearing was held “live”. The judge said, “in every protection order hearing I’ve ever had, people have different stories. How can I judge the credibility of the witnesses without being able to see the people?”
Dealing with Uncertainty
If you’re unsure whether your situation warrants taking extreme steps at the moment, call us at 303-449-1873. Sharing your story with an experienced attorney and getting an unbiased opinion can be very helpful in clarifying your next steps.
In the meantime, Boulder County remains under a stay-at-home order until at least May 8th, and will only gradually transition back to “normal,” in a way that our county leadership deems safe for the community. Please stay home and stay safe, but call us if you would like a free consultation.