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Common Types of Domestic Relations Cases - Grandparent Time, Stepparent Adoption and Protection Orders

Following are some common types of domestic relations cases:

Grandparents as Caregivers and Intervenors

Sometimes grandparents have provided extensive care to grandchildren when parents were not available due to substance abuse, mental health issues or for other reasons. In a domestic relations case, if a grandparent, or other third party, has provided substantial care for a child for six months out of the last year, a grandparent can intervene in a domestic relations case and ask for allocation of parental responsibilities. Intervene means that the grandparent becomes a party to the action. The key is that fit biological parents have a constitutional priority over grandparents for parental responsibilities under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The landmark case for this premise is Troxel v. Granville. 530 U.S. 57 (2000). If the biological parents are not fit however, a grandparent may prevail for parenting time. The statute permitting this is C.R.S. § 14-10-123. other third parties may petition as well if they meet the previously-mentioned criteria. They may have standing to petition or intervene as psychological parents.

Stepparent Adoption

There are times where a stepparent can adopt a stepchild. The legal standard is generally that the biological parent has abandoned the child by not having contact with the child or supporting the child for one year or more. A stepparent adoption is a two-part process of termination of the biological parent’s rights, then adoption by the stop-parent. These cases are heard in juvenile court as opposed to domestic relations court. The biological parent can consent, oppose or not respond to the petition for adoption. Children age 12 or older must consent to the adoption. The stepparent must conduct backgrounds checks and explain to the court why he or she would like to adopt the child.

Civil Protection Orders

If you fear imminent harm form another person, you can request a civil protection order. First you apply for a Temporary Protection Order (TPO). To obtain this you file a petition and attend an ex parte hearing where you explain to a Judge what happened and why you fear for your safety. Generally, you appear on the same day that you file the petition. Ex parte means that the other party is not present. If you obtain a TPO, it will be in effect for two weeks and you must have a copy personally served on the perpetrator.

The next step is to obtain a Permanent Protection Order. To obtain this, you attend an evidentiary hearing with the opposing party present. The general legal standard is that the other party has acted in a way that caused harm or a threat of harm and absent continuance of a protection order, the harm will be likely to continue. Both parties could agree to allow the TPO to continue for a year in lieu of putting on evidence in an evidentiary hearing. Another alternative is entering into a no contact agreement. There are domestic violence shelters that can offer assistance of various types such as housing, counseling and advocacy.

Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs

A knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. Give yourself the benefit of hiring one. This allows you to focus on moving on to a better future instead of spending your time attempting to navigate complex legal rules and procedures.

Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law Solutions has more than 20 years of legal experience and protects your best interests. She ensures that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.

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Excellent service! Sabra and her team work diligently while looking for all the little details that impact the case. Im so grateful to have found this firm. Great communication from start to finish. Also they were very patient with my lack of understanding the court process. Highly recommend! Chris Faucett
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As an active duty service member I can definitely say that at Janko Family Law Solutions I was served with the utmost professionalism, in a timely and efficient manner. Very glad I discovered these experienced professionals to assist me in my legal circumstances, and I will certainly be recommending them to people in the future. Rebecca Cody
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Sabra and her office are wonderful to work with! ... very knowledgeable, supportive, and compassionate during the entire process. The experience and legal expertise are evident. Tim Halladay
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