Parenting Time is a Sensitive Issue in Divorce Proceedings
Aug 29, 2012
Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) August 28, 2012 – The father in this case appealed a trial court decision to restrict parenting time with his child.
“The father in In re the MARRIAGE OF Catherine PARR, f/k/a Catherine LYMAN, Appellee, and David LYMAN, Appellant, Colorado Court of Appeals, Div. I. 2010 had his parenting time restricted by a lower trial court. It went on appeal,” explained Bill Thode, a Denver custody lawyer.
When the marriage of Parr and Lyman broke down in 2007, the parties collaborated on a parenting plan that outlined an ever-increasing amount of time for the father’s role in parenting time over a seven-month period. In part, the agreement also included a stipulation that the father undergo urinalysis tests and drug screening to show he had not reverted to using marijuana.
The day the court appended the parenting plan to the divorce decree, the father was advised he was approved for listing on the state Medical Marijuana Registry (MMR), as a result of excruciating knee and back pain as a result of a motorcycle accident. When the father found this out, he applied to the court to have the urinalysis testing waived.
“When his motion came up for hearing, he said he did not tell anyone about the Medical Marijuana Registry, on advice of counsel, until he was sure he was approved,” Thode added. After the hearing, the judge said since the father knowingly signed the parenting plan, in spite of his possible approval for the MMR, he was going to have to live with it. Despite acting on advice of counsel, the court considered the father signing the plan to be an act of bad faith, knowing he had applied to legally use marijuana.
The motion to waive the mandated urinalysis testing was denied, with the court adding he must continue the testing until a further court order. The father promptly filed for a review of the order, suggesting the tests were in contravention of his constitutional right to use medical marijuana. Nothing came of the filing and the mother later filed to restrict his parenting time, as his drug screens were not clean and he had asked his child to keep his drug use a secret.
Over a year later, the trial court indicated the father’s parenting time would be supervised, until he could prove his drug use would not harm the child. He was also told he could not use marijuana while the child was with him, and until he submitted a clean hair follicle test, his visits with his child would remain supervised. The father appealed the trial court’s order by suggesting the added modification restricting his parenting time was in error. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s modified provision, but affirmed the order.
“Parenting time is a sensitive issue in divorces and can be highly contentious. It is best not to attempt to represent yourself pro se in cases such as this one, as the mother did, because many of the legal issues that needed to be addressed were not properly handled. Always talk to an experienced Colorado divorce and custody lawyer to find out what your rights are and how to move forward to petition a court on parenting rights issues,” suggested Thode.
Thode Law Firm, P.C.
201 Steele Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80206
Call: (303) 330-0425