Custody Win for R&H Client

Robinson & Henry Client Wins Big in Custody Case

Introduction

When parents split up under bitter circumstances, ex-partners can go to extraordinary lengths to hurt each other, including using their own child as a pawn. In these cases, it is imperative the court has all the facts when it assigns parental responsibilities in the final orders.

Robinson & Henry client Addie had been put through the emotional wringer by her ex. She wanted sole custody of her daughter who, at this point in her life, didn’t really know her father. Despite being a virtual stranger to the young child, the father wanted equal parenting time.

Addie came to Robinson & Henry, P.C. seeking a family law attorney who would aggressively fight to protect the best interests of her child.

“I was in high distress,” Addie said. “[But] Allison was speaking my language. I didn’t have to tell her what I wanted. She just did it.”

Robinson & Henry, P.C. family law attorney Allison Sutton successfully represented Addie in her allocation of parental responsibilities case, including being  awarded the primary residential parental role and sole decision-making responsibility.

Past results afford no guarantee of future results; each matter is different and must be judged on its own merits. Facts are those of an actual Robinson & Henry family law case. The names of all involved were changed to protect their privacy.

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Background

It was a tumultuous time in the months leading up to the final orders hearing for Addie. Money was tight for the working mom who did not receive regular child support payments from her daughter’s father.

However, the situation became more dire when Addie says her ex took the child without talking with her about it, and then he refused to say where they were or when they might return.

That’s when Addie hired a lawyer.

“I didn’t care what I spent. I just wanted [my child] back,” she said.

At that stage of the game, a former attorney represented Addie while she sought temporary orders from the court. The outcome was not what Addie had wanted. Her ex received more parenting time than Addie had wished.

The next step was to wait for the final orders hearing. At the final orders hearing, a judge allocates parental responsibilities, parenting time, and child support.

Addie knew she wanted a different outcome at the final orders hearing than she did from the temporary orders hearing. She wanted sole custody.

Addie felt she would need an attorney with a stronger personality, one who would actively and aggressively fight for her rights and goals.

That’s when Addie came to Robinson & Henry, P.C. She hired family law attorney Allison Sutton to represent her in the last leg of her custody fight.

“Allison made it look easy,” she said.

Addie said Allison put her at ease about the process.

“[She was] a legal counselor,” Addie said. “She reassured me…She set the tone for what was going on, and she was always ahead of the game.”

The Solution

Allison got busy on compiling the necessary documents for the final orders hearing. The father was unresponsive to communication for information, and he did not supply important records, like a sworn financial statement.

While frustrating, his lack of cooperation was good for Addie’s case.

During this time, the father had very little interaction with his child. Addie said apart from a few phone calls and video chats here and there, her ex was absent.

Allison included this type of evidence in the Trial Management Certificate. This document lays out the facts of the case and helps paint a clear picture of the circumstances.

Since Addie was going after sole decision-making authority, Allison also turned to relevant laws to support the request.

Allison noted that under Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-124(4)(a)(II)(A), Addie should be awarded sole decision-making authority because she is a domestic violence victim at the hands of her ex.

“Whether 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, which factor must be supported by a preponderance of the evidence. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that one of the parties has committed domestic violence:
(A) It shall not be in the best interests of the child to allocate mutual decision-making responsibility over the objection of the other party or the legal representative of the child, 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;” C.R.S. 14-10-124(4)(a)(II)(A)

In addition to emotional abuse that Allison proved through emails and text messages from Addie’s ex, Allison pointed to the harmful event in which the father took the child without notice and refused to allow Addie to communicate with her daughter.

The Outcome

A Favorable Final Orders Hearing

After hearing testimony from both parties and reviewing the evidence in the Trial Management Certificate Allison created, the judge awarded Addie sole decision-making.

Additionally, the court ordered Addie to be the primary residential parent. The father may have short, professionally-supervised visits each month. The judge also ordered Addie’s ex to pay back a substantial amount of outstanding child support, and it declared how much the child’s father owes each month in child support.

A Sigh of Relief

Since the final court orders hearing, Addie said she’s been able to breathe a sigh of relief. She noted the quality of life is better – for her and her daughter. Addie said, thanks to Allison’s representation, she feels like she can begin to focus on setting up her child for success.

“I am so much more relieved knowing that the money will come in and I can start planning…ahead.”

Addie’s parting thoughts to other parents in a similar position:

“Keep records of everything, and do not let your emotions go off the hook.”

We Can Help You, Too!

Custody cases like Addie’s are incredibly stressful. These cases are as complex as the law itself, but our attorneys can remove some of that burden and help you make sense of the process. If you’re in a custody dispute, and your child’s other parent has hired an attorney, it’s in your best interest to consider doing the same.

About Robinson & Henry’s Family Law Team

At Robinson & Henry, our family law attorneys work on teams. That means your legal team can offer multiple perspectives and help your lead attorney develop a strategy for your case.

A good family law attorney will have your and your family’s best interests in mind and zealously advocate for you.

If you need help with a family law matter, set up some time to talk with a member of our family law team. We always provide a free initial consultation. Call 303-688-0944 to make that appointment or click here.

Past results afford no guarantee of future results; each matter is different and must be judged on its own merits. Facts are those of an actual Robinson & Henry family law case. The names of all involved were changed to protect their privacy.

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