Deployed Parents, Custody and Visitation

The legislature has just passed and Governor Hickenlooper has just signed a law to set up provisions concerning custody and visitation rights of deployed parents. This law defines what a deployment is and is an attempt to address the custody and visitation issues of military personnel in a time of great stress. There are notification provisions and provisions for interim agreements granting custodial responsibility during deployment. The law provides powers of attorney and creates a judicial procedure for granting custodial responsibility during deployment. Finally, there are detailed provisions for the termination of deployment agreements at the end of the deployment.

Maintenance

The Colorado State Legislature has passed a new maintenance statute which has been signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper.  The new maintenance statute only applies to a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation or Declaration of Invalidity, or an Action for the Initial Establishment of Maintenance filed on or after January 1, 2014.  This statute establishes guidelines for the amount and term of maintenance and expands the factors effecting the amount and term of maintenance with an extensive definition of the term, “gross income”, as it is used for the determination of maintenance.  The new maintenance statute is a long time coming and will greatly aid parties in crafting maintenance awards that are fair, equitable and more consistent across judicial districts, as indicated in the stated purpose of the new act.  It would not be surprising to see parties voluntarily using the provision of the new statute to craft maintenance in stipulations before it actually takes effect.

Civil Unions in Colorado

Civil Unions are now a reality in the State of Colorado. The Civil Union is a relationship established by two eligible persons that entitles them to receive the benefits, protections and to be subject to the responsibilities of spouses. To form a Civil Union, both parties to propose Civil Union must complete a civil union application and at least one party must appear before the County Clerk and Recorder and pay the civil union license fee. The Civil Union license must be used within 35 days of issuance or it becomes void and one of the parties must return the Civil Union license to the County Clerk and Recorder cancellation. A Civil Union may be certified by a judge of a Court, by a District Court Magistrate, by a County Court Magistrate, by a retired judge of a court, by the parties to a Civil Union, or in accordance with any mode of recognition of a Civil Union by any religious denomination or Indian nation or tribe. Within 63 days after the date on which the Civil Union is certified, either the parties certifying the Civil Union or if no individual acting alone certifies the Civil Union, a party to the Civil Union shall complete the Civil Union certificate and return the certificate to the County Clerk and Recorder’s office that issued the license. Upon receiving the Civil Union certificate, the County Clerk and Recorder shall register the Civil Union. Parties to a Civil Union have the same rights as spouses, except they may not file joint tax returns for Federal or State purposes. There are significant real and personal property issues, personal injury issues, Workman’s Compensation issues, probate issues, unemployment benefit issues, adoption issues, retirement benefit issues, medical issues, to name but a few, which are effected by the Civil Union status. These are important rights you need to protect and my office would be happy to advise you as to these rights. Further, Civil Unions are subject to Dissolution, legal separation and declaration of invalidity statutes as well. In other words, a person in a Civil Union must follow the same procedures to dissolve the Civil Union as an individual going through a Dissolution of Marriage. This is further true for a Petition for Legal Separation or for a Declaration of Invalidity. My office can effectively and competently represent you with respect to your Dissolution of Civil Union, Petition for Legal Separation in your Civil Union or for a Declaration of Invalidity of your Civil Union. Please feel free to contact my office for a no cost initial consultation.