Legal Question in Family Law in Colorado

I'm married since July 2014 and have a son with my husband who wants to get divorced. I am also very devastated in this marriage but I've been trying work out things with him to keep the family together. I know one party wants a divorce, it happens.

I haven't worked since I got pregnant 2 months after wedding. I'm a permanent resident with no job, no income or proper educatioIn other than Korean high school diploma. I really want to keep my baby with me since he is only 16 months old. But even with a good job, it will be very hard to afford for both of us in Colorado. I keep thinking about what to do and I can't think of anything. I need help. I have to give up my baby to get divorced if I don't have a place and no income? He is a full time college student that gets grant, monthly housing money, tuition and fees and health insurance paid by us army. He might get Va disability soon. Plus he is hired by an electrician company and he works whenever he can.

Asked on 10/08/16, 8:40 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

I am very sorry to hear about your situation.

First, understand that the court will not take your child from you just because you don't have a job. What the Court looks for is whether you are tapping into resources so that you can keep your baby safe and in a place to live. You should go talk to the Department of Human Services and see what benefits you can qualify for. You will likely qualify for several, including food assistance, housing assistance (though there is so much demand that can be exceptionally hard to actually get into), possibly job training (TANF) and if you get a job then child care assistance. Those will all help you deal with the economic factors. As long as you have a place to live and a way to be sure your child is fed and clothed and cared for, then the Court is fine with leaving the child primarily in your care.

The Court will address parenting time issues, deciding who spends how much time with your baby. The Court will consider the primary parent role that you have filled as a stay-at-home mom (taking care of most feeding, changing, doctor appointments, etc.). With children that small, the Court usually tries to give the other parent 2-3 visits of 2-3 hours at a time each week, but usually not overnights. As your baby gets older, if there are no significant concerns, the Court would move more toward a 50/50 sort of parenting time arrangement. The Court also favors joint decision making, meaning you both have to decide together which school the child will go to (including things like whether or not to attend preschool), major medical decisions (whether or not to get optional or recommended treatments, who to use for the doctor if you need to change from the current one), whether the child will get any religious training and if so what that will be, and what extra-curricular activities the child will be in. In most situations, it is best for the child to maintain regular contact with both parents and have the parents actively working together to make decisions for the child.

The Court will address child support. This is an amount paid (in this case by him, because he has income) to the other parent (usually the one with the most parenting time, the one we call the primary parent). It is not an amount to cover all of the cost of raising the child. It is an amount to make sure that the other parent is contributing his fair share to the cost of raising the child. That will not be enough to live on, but it will help with expenses.

Colorado also has provisions for maintenance (spousal support), but your marriage is so short that the presumption will be against any permanent maintenance. You might be able to get some temporary maintenance (while the case is pending, before permanent orders have been entered) to help with the costs of transition.

On the practical side, see what benefits you might qualify for. Start looking to see if you can find a job. Maybe you can tap into the extensive Korean American community and find something? Start looking to see how much it would cost you and your baby to have a place, whether that's renting an apartment or renting a couple of rooms in someone's home. The more of those pieces you can get in place before things are filed and start really moving, the better.

I hope this helps you.

Read more
Answered on 10/09/16, 8:10 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Adoption questions and answers in Colorado