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Boulder Colorado Legal Blog

Film examines child support and African-American fathers

Some Colorado fathers who have fallen behind in child support payments may be dealing with a combination of factors that includes little or no income and a lack of knowledge about how to navigate the child support system. In a documentary film about child support and African-American fathers, Rel Dowdell examines how they are disproportionately affected by problems in the system.

According to a study by the Urban Institute, 70 percent of child support debt is owed by parents who have no income or whose income is lower than $10,000 per year. While there is a stereotype of African-American fathers as being absent or neglectful, Dowdell says that in fact there are a number of barriers to their involvement with their children.

AASM warns of drowsy driving risks within ridesharing industry

People in Colorado generally enjoy the convenience provided by ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Passengers, however, might not realize that drivers for these companies could work long hours and experience sleep deprivation. A recent statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for increased regulation of ridesharing to reduce the public safety risks produced by drowsy drivers.

The majority of these drivers function as independent contractors. They have not been screened for medical conditions that could increase sleepiness such as obstructive sleep apnea. An associate professor of medicine said that the salary incentives of ridesharing services motivate drivers to work beyond safety limits. Their customers also lack awareness of how long their drivers might have been awake.

Joint legal custody can work for parents and adults

When divorced parents are willing to communicate and work together for the sake of their child, joint legal custody can be an effective arrangement. Even when parents in Colorado or any other state don't think that they can work together, such an arrangement may give them the motivation to try to do so. Although there is no trail for divorced parents to take when raising their children, this task can be difficult even when the parents stay married.

In some cases, having the other parent around can be welcoming during such challenging times. Furthermore, the children benefit when they see adults working together to solve problems. Parents may feel as if having joint legal custody opens them up to being manipulated or that they aren't consulted on some decisions. However, as parents learn to communicate, it can become easier to make them together in a manner that benefits the child.

Will a DUI arrest ruin their future?

College is often viewed as a time to party. For many students, that means drinking to excess. Far too often, young people get behind the wheel when they have had too many drinks.

A DUI arrest can be a devastating blow for a student. It can mean jail time, fines, loss of a driver’s license or even expulsion from a university. However, it does not have to ruin your child’s future. You have options.

Setting visitation schedules that work

When parents create a visitation schedule, it should be one that works for both parents as well as the child. Alternating weekends are an option and work for many parents. In this arrangement, children will live with the custodial parent and spend alternating weekends with the non-custodial parent. Most visits begin on Friday evenings and end on Sunday evenings. This is an option that works well for parents who are newly separated and who are trying to adjust to spending time away from their kids.

Parents who live within a short distance of each other might benefit from making a schedule that includes letting the child spend one night during the week with the non-custodial parent as well as alternating weekends. The child could spend a few hours with the non-custodial parent one evening if the child doesn't spend the entire night. Sometimes, parents who get along well with each other can arrange their schedules so that the weekend visitation is extended to Monday instead of ending on Sunday. This is an option for those who might travel for work on the weekends or have other obligations.

How gray divorce impacts finances

For spouses age 50 or older, a divorce can represent a major life change. In some cases, a newly divorced person in Colorado could be responsible for their own finances for the first time. The financial decisions that they make can have a big impact on their future. In a UBS Global Wealth Management survey of divorced and widowed women, 59 percent of respondents said that they regretted not making such decisions when they were married.

The report also found that 85 percent of woman participants said that their spouses knew more about money than they did. Others were simply content to let their spouses make the financial decisions or were content with how financial decisions were made overall. Women who were divorced and not active in making financial decisions while married encouraged other wives to be more involved.

Divorce process often includes formal mediation

When a Colorado couple decides to end a marriage, the estranged spouses often disagree on various aspects of property division and child custody. Instead of both parties battling in court where a judge will make arbitrary decisions, people have the option of mediation. They can seek this service out voluntarily, but courts often order it to prevent divorce disputes from overburdening the court schedules.

Mediation also has the potential to produce divorce settlements that both parties find acceptable and workable over the long term. During mediation, both parties have an active role in reaching decisions. The impartial mediator grants both parties a chance to state concerns and issues. As the discussion progresses, a mediator will strive to suggest compromises and help each party recognize the needs of the other. Once the people come to terms, the mediator writes their agreement which becomes a binding contract for their divorce settlement.

Man sentenced to 4 years for threatening texts, calls

On March 28, a Colorado man who was convicted on stalking and harassment charges was sentenced to four years in prison. According to the report, the Eagle County jury had deliberated for just nine minutes before convicting him.

The man was reportedly living in a storage unit in Basalt when he began leaving texts and voicemails on a woman's phone. These voicemails and texts were often threatening and full of profanity. It was said that he began the harassment after she broke up with him when he became abusive six months into their relationship. After he had become physical with her, the woman went to the police station where he called again. She put him on speakerphone, allowing the police officer to hear him threaten her. The man was taken into custody shortly after.

3 consequences for college students facing legal trouble

Many college students have the motto: work hard, play hard. Class exams are stressful and require weeks, if not months, of intensive studying. When exams are over, some students turn to partying to relax. Unfortunately, partying can quickly lead to mistakes and legal repercussions. If you get in trouble with the law for drugs, assault, theft, vandalizing or drinking while driving, then you could face the following three potential consequences as a college student.

1. Failed classes or delayed graduation

Study shows cellphones and conversations distract drivers

The journal Human Factors has published a meta-analysis of various studies that concern the impact of conversation, both via phone and with other passengers, on driving performance. The conclusions of the analysis may sound familiar, but drivers in Colorado should take them to heart the next time they face distractions while on the road.

Conversing on the phone can slow down drivers' ability to identify hazards and react to them. Many drivers on the phone also fail to slow down and give adequate space to the car in front of them. Conversation can keep drivers from looking left and right and checking their rearview mirror. Even speaking on a hands-free phone will lower a driver's awareness of the environment. Regardless of whether a conversation is engaging or not, a driver's speed, distance and lane position all suffer from its presence.

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