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Infant's death leads to ongoing child custody battle with parents

An unusual and deeply disturbing case is making headlines in Colorado and across the nation. A couple has lost custody of their two young children, ages 2 and 3, after the death of their newborn infant. According to investigators, the parents intentionally refused medical care for the baby, despite signs that the child was in distress. Now, they seem to be making a stand as they face an increasingly difficult child custody battle with their state of residence.

The couple is part of a religious group known as the Free Saints Assembly Church. That group does not believe in seeking medical treatment that extends beyond basic first aid measures. The mother gave birth at home, and both her own mother and a midwife present at the scene urged her to seek medical treatment for her newborn.

Understanding how child support can impact taxes

Very few people enjoy thinking about their tax situation. That may be especially true for Colorado residents who are going through a divorce. Understanding how divorce and child support can impact one's tax obligations can make it far easier to plan for the future. It can also avoid a number of nasty surprises when tax season rolls around for the year after a divorce is made final.  

Child support is different than spousal support in several very important ways. Alimony can be claimed as a tax deduction on the paying party's tax return, and is taxable to the recipient as income. Child support, on the other hand, is tax neutral. 

One state separates matters of divorce and child custody

When a Colorado resident goes through divorce, that process is handled through a specific court that focuses on family law matters. Child custody issues will be handled as part of the overall divorce process. However, one state has long separated issues of divorce and child custody, at least for unmarried parents. Public outrage and numerous legal challenges have led to a change in that policy.

It is undeniable that unmarried parents have a different set of legal needs than those who are married. Issues of spousal support and property division are not normally a part of ending a relationship between unmarried parties. However, if those parties share one or more children, then child custody can certainly become a legal matter that requires the attention of a family court.

Keep these factors in mind when preparing your parenting plan

If you're in the midst of divorce proceedings, and you have children with your spouse, you will need to create a parenting plan. Hopefully, you and your soon-to-be ex can reach an agreement about your parenting plan out of court and save time, money and prevent stress as a result.

When mapping out your parenting plan -- which will dictate whom your children will be with at what times and other important issues -- you will want to keep some important factors in mind.

1 approach to collecting unpaid child support

For Colorado parents who are raising children after a separation or divorce, having the financial means to do so is a primary concern. In many cases, a noncustodial parent is tasked with making child support payments to help with those costs. When child support goes unpaid, families suffer. One state is looking at an unusual approach to boost collections of unpaid child support.

The program is offered in the nation's capital, and allows parents who are behind on their child support obligations to get back on track without the usual repercussions associated with unpaid child support. Noncustodial parents can request and receive amnesty for past due child support. They are also able to access help in structuring a new payment plan that will provide the support that their children need.

How to choose the best possible child custody attorney

As Colorado parents prepare to divorce, there are a number of factors that must be considered. For those who share one or more children, child custody will likely play a central role throughout the divorce process. Choosing the right attorney to complete a child custody case is important, and is a decision that can have a lasting impact on everyone involved.

One of the most important factors to consider when interviewing potential child custody attorneys is the manner in which each legal professional approaches the job. Finding an attorney who shares one's overall approach to custody cases is important. For example, a parent who wishes to make every effort to complete the divorce in a collaborative manner would be a poor fit for an attorney who has a standing reputation as a tough and relentless litigator.

"Dogimony" center of property division disagreement

When a Colorado couple decides to go their separate ways, reaching an agreement on how to divide marital assets is a big focus of the divorce process. For those who have pets, provisions are often included regarding pet care and expenses. If those terms are not met after the divorce is made final, the matter may go before a court of law. An example is found in an unusual property division disagreement regarding a particularly pampered pooch.

The case centers on an English bulldog named Lola. When Lola's owners divorced in 2012, the husband agreed to pay the wife $200 per month to cover the cost of Lola's care. In addition, he also agreed to cover all feeding expenses and half of any veterinary bills. In a recently filed action, the wife claims those obligations have not been met.

Jurisdiction is critical in child custody cases

For Colorado parents who anticipate a difficult custody battle, taking a carefully considered approach is the best way to achieve a favorable outcome. For some, that includes making strategic decisions concerning where to file their child custody case. For parents who have the opportunity to file in different jurisdictions, it is important to research those options prior to making a decision.

For example, consider a couple that has been experiencing marital difficulties for many years. The husband accepts a job offer in his home state, leaving his wife and children to finish out the school year in their current state of residence. If either parent wishes to end the marriage and begin child custody proceedings, choosing between those two jurisdictions can make a great deal of difference in how the case will be resolved.

Another state considers shared child custody bill

Like all other areas of law, the manner in which parental rights and responsibilities are divided after divorce is subject to change over the years. The nature of our legal system allows for ongoing modifications of existing law as cultural and other factors change the way that we view the world. This is especially true in matters of child custody, where approaches shift over time. An example is found in a recent trend toward shared custody outcomes; Colorado parents may be interested to know that yet another state is considering a bill that would change the way that custody determinations are made.

Those behind the bill believe that family courts should begin from a position and belief that shared custody is the best possible outcome. Currently, most states approach custody matters with a focus on the best interests of the child. All decisions are made in relation to meeting that ideal. Very often, the end result is a custody determination in which one parent takes on the bulk of parenting time and responsibilities, while the other receives liberal visitation rights.

Want sole physical custody? Here are the pros and cons

Every family is different, and every husband or wife has his or her reasons for seeking sole physical child custody during Colorado divorce proceedings.

Perhaps you're worried about your soon-to-be ex's drinking problem, and you don't want your kids to be exposed to living with an alcoholic. Maybe the other parent of your children has a history of violence or abuse. Or, perhaps you and the other parent live far away from each other, making shared physical custody unworkable.

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