Will Issues from Your Marriage Affect Custody Arrangements?

Getting divorced can be a heart-breaking process. You and a person you envisioned spending the rest of your life with are going separate ways. However, in some cases, divorce can be a relief.

If there was emotional, sexual or physical abuse in your relationship, filing for divorce can feel freeing. If your former spouse had issues with substance abuse or gambling, you may look forward to living a more predictable life with better financial stability. When there are children from the marriage, it means you can't just pack up and walk away. For better or worse, you'll be dealing with your ex.

The worse the circumstances during your marriage, the more hesitant you may be about sharing custody with your former spouse. Even if your children were never the target of any abuse, you may worry about what will happen when you aren't there to monitor things.

Drinking, drugs and gambling can also all contribute to a less-than-stable home environment. In extreme cases, there may be a potential for violence or physical danger to your children. You want to do right by your children and keep them safe, so you want to know how to arrange custody in a manner that is safe and fair for all.

Documentation and evidence matter in divorces

If you are accusing your former spouse of abuse during a divorce, the courts will expect some kind of evidence. If you never sought medical treatment for the abuse or called for the help of law enforcement, you may need to get creative with documentation. Posts on social media, a hand-written diary or even testimony from friends and family can help substantiate your claims.

Failing all of these options, you may not be able to convince the courts of abuse. Even if you can, if the children were never present for or subject to the abuse, the courts may not consider them for custody purposes. You'll need a compelling reason to eliminate or reduce your former spouse's parenting time.

In cases of substance abuse and gambling, it can be a little easier to prove your case. Bank statements, credit card receipts from websites or liquor stores or even chemical tests after your file for divorce can substantiate your claims about your former spouse's addiction. Even with all of that, however, you will still need experienced divorce legal help if you hope to shield your children (and yourself) from your former spouse's mental health, substance abuse or financial issues.

An attorney can help in a custody fight

From advising you about acceptable forms of evidence to fighting for your rights in court, an experienced Colorado divorce and family law attorney is critical to your custody case. Your attorney can help you develop a legal strategy and determine exactly what the best possible outcome will be in your case.