Are you involved in a divorce or family law case involving child abuse or safety? You could consult with a divorce attorney who understands domestic violence and child safety.
Kayden’s Law was enacted in May of 2023 and is embodied in C.R.S. § 14-10-127.5. It was originally enacted as part of the as part of the Violence Against Women’s Act (“VAWA”) Reauthorization Act of 2022. It is named after Kayden Mancuso of Pennsylvania, a seven-year-old child killed by her father during court-ordered parenting time. Her mother had presented evidence to the court that Kaden's father had a criminal record and that there was a protection order against him. Despite the evidence, the court allocated unsupervised parenting time with Kayden to him.
Between late 2022 and early 2023, four children were murdered by their fathers after Colorado courts in Larimer, Douglas, and Teller counties allocated paternal parenting time despite to them despite findings of domestic violence. The Colorado enactment of Kayden’s Law occurred, in part, to help prevent harm to children in similar situations. Kayden's Law contain a number of provisions to include:
- Restricts expert testimony on abuse to only those appropriately qualified to provide it. Additionally, courts should allow testimony from court-appointed professionals regarding abuse only when the professional possesses expertise and experience in domestic violence and child abuse, including child sexual abuse.
- Limits the use of reunification therapies which are not proven to be safe and effective. The Court may not order “reunification treatment” without scientifically valid and generally accepted proof of the safety, effectiveness and therapeutic value of the particular treatment.
- Provides training to judges and court personnel on familyviolence to include: child physical, sexual and emotional abuse to include coercive control; implicit and explicit bias; trauma; the impact of domestic violence and abuse onchildren; and victim and perpetrator behaviors.
- Requires courts to consider evidence of past physical or sexual abuse, including protection orders, arrests, and convictions for domestic violence, sexual violence, or child abuse of the accused parent.
Courts must now make specific findings in writing when appointing a Child's Legal Representative, Child and Family Investigator, or Parenting Responsibilities Evaluator that the professional has expertise in domestic violence and child abuse. The professional will be removed from the court roster if they do not maintain the required statutory education.
Kayden's Law is based on, among others premises that:
- Approximately fifteen million children are exposed to domestic violence or child abuse each year;
- Most child abuse is perpetrated by a parent;
- The risk of child abuse increases after a perpetrator of adult domestic violence separates from the partner, even when the perpetrator has not abused the child before;
- Allegations of child abuse are regularly discounted by courts when raised in custody cases;
- In custody cases where a parent claims parental alienation, courts are substantially less likely to disbelieve an opposing parent alleging child abuse;
- Courts at times grant allocation of parental responsibilities to an abusive parent; and
- Abusive parents frequently minimize or deny allegations of abuse.
A knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney can guide you through utilizing artificial intelligence in Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters. Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law Solutions has more than 20 years of legal experience and guides you through the difficult terrain of Colorado Springs divorce and family law. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.