You have a number of different rights under Colorado law. The first right that you have is the right to know the financial situation of your spouse. In some instances parties keep their finances separate, and you have no clue what your husband or wife has in terms of assets, bank accounts, liabilities and similar. First and foremost, your right is a right of full disclosure, and of good faith and fair dealing. That’s Colorado law. You are obligated to provide the other party with your financial disclosures that include bank statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements. You have the right to a full and complete financial picture regarding assets and liabilities that have been accumulated during the marriage.
The answer is “Yes,” and it depends upon a number of different factors. If it’s a situation where you would like to adopt your stepchild, then you would need to show that the biological parent of the child consents to you adopting the child or that there has been abandonment or failure to support the child for a period of at least one year. If that’s the case, then you can file a petition for a stepparent adoption.
There is a specific procedure that you have to go through. I can help you with that process. Essentially you have to go and get fingerprinted. You have to do a background check. You have to do what’s known as a trails check, which is to make sure you haven’t had any complaints lodged against you for child-related reasons. Then you have to file a petition for stepparent adoption with the court in the county where you reside.
A prenup or premarital agreement is a contract between you and your perspective spouse. Why would you want to do this? You would want to do this if you had been married before and you had assets and children from a prior relationship and you wanted to protect those assets and you also wanted to provide for your children.
Another reason why you would want to do a premarital agreement or same thing as a prenup is if there is going to be a disparity in income or earning ability between the parties. Perhaps, you want to protect a family inheritance. You want to protect a family business. You want to clearly delineate your rights and responsibilities going into a marriage relationship.
A child and family investigator is an expert witness that has been approved by the Colorado Supreme Court for use in cases where allocation of parental responsibilities is an issue. That means parenting time and decision making. A child and family investigator at the present time is paid a statutory cap of $2,750. Sometimes they can exceed that cap, but basically, that is the amount that they are paid. The purpose of a child and family investigator is to investigate what is going to be in the best interests of the children. A child and family investigator will talk to you, talk to your ex, talk to your collateral contacts, talk to any therapists and teachers who’ve been involved with the children, and go do a home visit with you and the other party.
In order to create an effective parenting plan, you have to be realistic about your individual situation. Who has been primarily involved in caring for the children while you and your partner were together? How are you going to handle the logistics of the children after you and your partner separate? By that, I mean how are you going to get them to school? How are you going to pick them up from school? How is that going to look on a summer day? How is that going to look here in Colorado when we have a snowy day and roads are bad? How close are you each going to live to the children’s school? How practical is that going to be for you to be involved in that? What are your work hours like? Can you realistically get the children up, get them dressed and fed, get them to school, and make it to work on time? Can you realistically get to school or daycare after you complete work in time to pick them up?