May 31, 2022

What Factors Into ‘Child Custody’? 

Family Lawyer

By Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC 

To begin with, what do we mean by the term ‘child custody’? A family lawyer can explain that while the definitions and rules differ in every state in the U.S.— and clients are advised to consult with a family law attorney in their own state— there’s no such concept as ‘general custody of a child.’ Rather, there’s ‘sole’ and ‘joint’ custody, and ‘legal’ and ‘residential’ custody (at least in New Jersey). 

Let’s briefly break down what this all means: 

  • Legal custody: This type of custody grants the parent, co-parent or guardian the power to make long-term decisions about the child’s welfare, including the manner in which the child is to be raised, as well as medical and financial decisions. 
  • Residential (or physical) custody: As defined by the term, this decides where the child will reside. Will the child stay with one parent at the home they know, or move with one parent to a new home? Will the child attempt to split time equally between two co-parents’ residences?
  • Sole custody: Defined as when one parent has primary decision-making authority (as in custody) and the other parent has parenting time, which often is limited. 
  • Joint custody, which can apply to legal and/or residential custody: When both parents share decisions-making concerning their child and/or share an even fifty-fifty split of residential custody. 

Residential custody has evolved over the years; initially it was almost always determined the child would live with the mother, with the father seeing the child on weekends, holidays, vacations, which gave way to the term ‘Disneyland Dad’ (a father who swoops in on the weekend to do something fun with the child, and then returns the child to the mother for a week of schoolwork, bathing and chores), or ‘the fun parent’ (check out our blog post on ‘the fun parent’ here). Recently, however, ‘nesting’ has become a popular part of residential custody, where the children stay in the house and it is the parents who rotate in, depending upon their custody schedules and agreements, thus allowing children to be in their own environs, with their own stuff, all the time. 

What does the court take into consideration when making decisions about custody? Again, it varies from city to city, county to county, state to state, but the standard basis is, “the best interest of the child.” What is in the best interest of the child? 

Naturally divorcing co-parents may disagree about the correct or appropriate answer to the best interest standard, but factors that will shape the answer may include: 

Who is the child’s primary caregiver? Where has the child primarily resided during the life? What is the manner or style of life the child has become accustomed to? 

Other facts and questions the court may consider and ask are: are the co-parents civil? Do they communicate well? What is their divorce relationship going to look like? What is their relationship with their children like? 

More troubling topics may also emerge: is there any history of violence or physical abuse? Has either parent struggled with substance abuse? What is the stability of the home environment? Are the child’s basic needs being met? 

And, to the extent that it can determine with minors: does the child have a preference based upon reasonable, rational thought? Has the child bonded with one parent, or both parents? 

Obviously, the court’s decision is difficult, and, while guided by the laws of the state, personalized. It may also be extremely difficult for one divorcing party to accept. What we wish for you in your divorce journey— no matter where you are divorcing— is a smart, amicable divorce in which both parties can continue to be a healthy and beneficial presence in their child’s life. In other words: what is in the best interest of the child. 

If you need assistance with child custody, please consider the firm of Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC. Learn more at: and follow them on Facebook at:

April 15, 2022

What does a family lawyer do?

Family Lawyer

If you are dealing with the end of your marriage you may be seeking a family lawyer. Divorce, child custody, alimony, and parental rights are all complex issues related to divorce cases. Every family law case is different, so it is helpful to hire an experienced family lawyer who can protect your legal interests and assert your rights under your local state laws. 

The Best Interests of the Child Standard in Family Law Cases 

The best interests of the child standard is an important concept in family law. Courts must often make decisions regarding child custody, parental rights, and visitation rights that affect where a child will attend school and with whom the child will reside for extended periods of time. These decisions must be made in accordance with the best interests of the child. 

A parent who is habitually intoxicated and endangers the child’s life may not be granted full custody because this would not be in the best interests of the child. The following factors are important when judges consider decisions that will affect the child’s life:

  • The physical and mental needs of the child 
  • The ability of the parents to provide the child with medical care, clothing, and food 
  • The emotional bond between the child, parents, siblings, and other family members 
  • The physical and mental health of the parents 
  • Whether domestic violence has occurred in the home or is occurring in the home 

The Beginning of a Divorce

The petition for the dissolution of marriage is the document that begins divorce proceedings in the state in which the marriage was licensed originally. If you want to get divorced in certain states, you may need to satisfy statutory residency requirements. First, you need to have resided in the state for at least six months. Second, you must have resided in the county where the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed for three months. 

You must wait six months and a day before your divorce proceedings are finalized. Many states are designated as no-fault divorce states. The court may dissolve the marriage if irreconcilable differences between the parties exist. Also, a single spouse can decide to end the marriage relationship even if the other spouse does not want to end the marriage. In no-fault states, when parties request divorces, they do not have to prove fault. Child support is often a contentious issue in divorce cases. Child support consists of monetary payments made by one party to another for the expenses of caring for children. Judges will examine how much time each parent spends with the child and the income of each parent. 

Community property is also another important concept regarding family law cases. Certain states are referred to as “community property” states. Any assets acquired during the marriage become both parties’ property. However, inheritances, gifts, and assets each party received before the marriage will be considered separate property. Retaining an experienced lawyer can help you understand which state-specific laws are relevant to your divorce case. 

Thanks to our friends at AttorneyBernie.Com for their expertise in the area of family law.

April 14, 2022

How to Prepare Your Children for Divorce

Family Lawyer

Divorce can be a complicated and stressful ordeal. In addition to dealing with the necessary requirements which can sometimes vary between each state, divorce takes an emotional toll on both spouses. In the case where there are children, this emotional toll can particularly be stressful. Along with figuring out child custody, there’s also the reality of needing to prepare your children for divorce. While this process is never fun or easy, there are some tips that can make the process more manageable. 

Try to Handle Things Amicably

Tensions and emotions are prone to be high between you and your spouse. There may even be issues such as infidelity that have played a factor in the divorce. However, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, children are involved. As such, trying to handle things as amicably as you can with your spouse is the best option when possible.

Only Tell Your Children When Divorce is a Sure Thing

All relationships have their fair shares of ups and downs. Couples fight and moods changes. So too can the prospect of a divorce. That’s why it’s important to only alert your children when you for sure know that the divorce is a sure thing. This doesn’t mean when you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce either. This means when the official paperwork has begun. 

Practice How You’ll Break the News 

Practice how you’ll break the news to your children. You may decide to tell your children with your spouse or not. Every child responds differently to certain situations. In the case of a divorce, younger children may not be able to process the situation. Older children, they may get angry or have a lot of questions. Be sure to break the news to your children in a safe environment as well and at a good time as well. Take into considerations factors such as their schoolwork. 

Have a Game Plan Already in Place

While you and your spouse don’t need to know every element of how the divorce will happen, it’s best to know as much as you can. This includes having a co-parenting plan drafted. This plan should include key information like living arrangements and how much time each parent will have with the kids each week. 

Reassure Them They’re Loved

Following a divorce, some children are prone to believe that they caused the divorce. Reassure your children that they’re still loved and that the divorce has nothing to deal with them. Additionally, there might be times when your children have delayed reactions. This is common. When it happens, make sure to be there. If necessary, you may even consider family counseling to help them process their emotions. 

Going through a divorce can be a traumatic experience not just for both spouses, but for children as well. While dealing with the emotional toll takes time and patience, when it comes to litigation, a family lawyer can help make the process easier. Our friends at Law Group of Iowa have experienced family lawyers ready to assist. 

April 12, 2022

4 Reasons To Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful Death Lawyer

When you lose someone you love, it can feel overwhelming. There is a lot to take care of such as tying up loose financial ends, paying medical expenses, overseeing the funeral arrangements and costs and so much more all of which is happening while you are grieving. You may believe the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death are questionable, but this can get lost in the chaos with so many things to do. The good news is that if justice is a priority to you, just spending a little time can go a long way in ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable. Speaking with a  wrongful death lawyer from an experienced firm like Saavedra Law Firm, PLC about your situation can help you understand your legal options. Four reasons to call a wrongful death lawyer are:

  1. You need to gather evidence. Without evidence it will be impossible to prove your case. An experienced lawyer will know what evidence to gather and how to lawfully obtain it to support your case. In some wrongful death cases, evidence can disappear if it isn’t gathered quickly. The sooner a lawyer begins working on the case, the greater chance there is that they can obtain accurate facts.

  2. Your family relied on the deceased for income. If your family relied on your loved one for income, you can seek compensation for the income they would have earned in the future had they not died. A lawyer will work with you to determine what compensation you should ask for. This isn’t necessarily the income that they earned right before they passed. The compensation amount may also include future estimated raises depending on where they were at in their careers.

  3. The costs are substantial. Death can be very expensive. There can be unpaid medical bills, financial obligations, and funeral costs on top of the daily, weekly, and monthly necessities you already pay for. The quicker you hire a lawyer, the faster they can begin working on your case, and the sooner you can get paid.

  4. You have nothing to lose. Many lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that if you don’t win your case, you do not have to pay anything. You and the lawyer will negotiate ahead of time and determine what percentage of the settlement they will receive if the judge rules in your favor or if any agreement is met in arbitration.

April 12, 2022

Who Must Pay Child Support?

When a child is born, the law goes to significant lengths in order to preserve its right to be financially supported by both of its parents. Of course, there are instances in which some parents are not held to such standards, but these instances are rare. For example, if a parent surrenders his or her legal rights to a child, that parent may not be required to pay child support. Or if a parent is imprisoned for an extreme amount of time and he or she is not granted an opportunity to earn any income with which to support an affected child, an exception may be made. The same kind of exception may apply to terminally ill or severely injured parents who can no longer earn a living.

Parents are generally only excluded from their duty to support their children under extreme circumstances. If a parent’s living situation does not meet this extraordinary threshold, he or she must generally provide financial support for his or her children regardless of marital status, education level, or temporary hardships. And while both married and unmarried couples who share biological or adopted children are not generally required to pay formal child support payments to each other as long as they live under the same roof, both unmarried and married couples who are no longer together will generally be required to abide by a legal child support order.

If you have questions about whether your child is entitled to support or you are required to pay for support, please do not hesitate to reach out to a family lawyer Colorado residents trust. The experienced Colorado family law firm of Zweig Law, PC would be happy to advise you of your legal options and obligations after learning about the specifics of your situation. It is, after all, better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential legal mandates.

Who Must Pay Support?

It does not generally matter if you are divorced, legally separated, or have never been married – if you have a biological or adopted child and you are no longer romantically involved with that child’s other parent, you are likely either entitled to receive a child support or are required to pay child support. Most judges will award child support to the parent who houses the shared child more than 50 percent of the time. However, if one parent makes substantially more money than the other, support will be awarded in such a way that the child has the best chance of having a relatively equalized living situation in each household.

The specifics of how child support is awarded (to whom, how much, for how long) varies depending on the circumstance. Judges often calculate awards within certain limits as set by law. But judges are also often given latitude to make exceptions when appropriate. It is also worth noting that child support awards may be modified by the court if a parent or child’s needs or circumstances change significantly. You can ask our Colorado family law firm whether a modification makes sense in your situation if you’re already paying or receiving child support.

April 12, 2022

Divorce Tips

Divorce is one of the most difficult things you can experience in your life. You’re seeing your family break apart and may wonder what’s in store for the future. Even though divorce will never be a walk in the park, you can take certain steps to make the process a little less painful. Here are a few tips a family law lawyer in Colorado at Zweig Law, P.C. suggests to follow.

Cut Down Your Spending

It’s no secret the divorce can get expensive. In addition to paying your family law lawyer in Colorado, you also have to pay for extra gas to get to your appointments and miss work for court hearings. That’s why it’s more important than ever to cut down on your spending. Look at what you currently spend money on and figure out what you can realistically cut out. For example, if you dine out a couple times a week, consider cooking at home more.

Be Civil With Your Ex

If you and your ex ended things on bad terms, you might feel anger and resentment toward him or her. However, that doesn’t mean you should yell or scream at your ex every time you communicate with him or her. Doing this will make the situation even more stressful. Do your best to remain civil with your ex. If you’re feeling particularly angry with your ex one day, your family law lawyer in Colorado may recommend calling them after you’ve calmed down.

Take Good Care of Yourself

When you’re going through something as difficult as a divorce, it’s easy to get consumed with it. However, it’s still important to take proper care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to a close family member or friend.

Hire a Lawyer

The divorce process involves many complexities, so it’s important to have someone with knowledge and experience on your side. A family lawyer Colorado residents trust can help you fill out the paperwork in a timely manner, look out for your best interests and improve your chances of getting a favorable settlement.

Don’t Put Your Children in the Middle

Divorce can be especially tough on children. It’s important to look out for your children during this difficult time and avoid putting them in the middle. You should never talk poorly about your ex in front of your kids, no matter how angry you are at him or her. Doing so will just make them feel more uncomfortable.

Talk to a Therapist

If you’re struggling to come to terms with your divorce, a family law lawyer in Colorado may advise you to speak to a professional therapist. You will have a safe place to talk about your emotions and receive expert guidance.

If you’re getting a divorce, consult a family law lawyer in Colorado.

April 12, 2022

Colorado Divorce Process with a Child

Depending upon the circumstances of the divorce case, your family lawyer in Colorado should be able to outline what a Colorado divorce involving a child or children between you and your spouse is going to be like. And they will also be able to tell you that if you have not been married for long, you do not own a lot of property and have no children in the process is going to be shorter.

However, if you have been married for a long time, you have a lot of property, and you have children under 18 a family lawyer in Colorado such as the ones available Zweig Law, PC is going to tell you that the process is going to be a lengthy process and it will take time.

So what steps do you take for a divorce when you have a child in Colorado? But the great question is your lawyers are going to be able to help you with that. Your family lawyer in Colorado is going to be able to tell you about the requirements required to be filed before filing for divorce, and in Colorado, they require the petitioner to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and to file for divorce in Colorado either spouse must be a resident of the state for 91 days prior to filing.

Sometimes spouses can file a joint petition, oftentimes this means that both spouses are in agreement that the marriage needs to be annulled, and they start the 91 day waiting period together before the court can officially enter the divorce decree. Filing jointly does not mean that all aspects of the divorce are agreed upon but it does mean that the parties are asking the court to dissolve their marriage jointly; whereas if one spouse files and the other does not, there might be time limitations that are not being met because the other spouse who is not involved in filing is dragging their feet and not signing the paperwork. If you are in that instance, you have to file a petition for dissolution on your own and serve the other side using a process server such as your lawyer.

If the divorce is contested, your family lawyer in Colorado is going to be able to tell you that this means that there is something that is not being agreed upon, which can make the process take several months or up to a year to complete.

No matter how you file, especially if you agree on major issues such as property division, child custody, child or and maintenance of spouse you can then go on and create a settlement agreement and parenting plan that involves your children and these can be given to the court as your ideal childcare plan. However, your family lawyer in Colorado will tell you that the court is going to retain jurisdiction over all child-related issues and has to ensure that the parenting plan given to them is in the child’s best interest and not the parent’s.

April 12, 2022

Who Pays Child Support?

Zweig Law, PC is run by a dynamic duo of prestigious, highly decorated family lawyers in Colorado. Maryjo Zweig has been a practicing trial lawyer for more than a quarter of a century. She’s litigated cases at the state and federal level. Steven Zweig has practiced in law for almost thirty years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Whenever you’re choosing a family lawyer to represent you, you’ll want lawyers who are seasoned and reputable. We offer a free case review in less than 24 hours. That’s how important your circumstance is to us. You may fill out an intake form here or call us at 970-986-6460.

Who Pays Child Support?

In Colorado, the non-custodial parent pays child support. Contrary to popular belief, more courts are awarding fathers primary or sole custody these days, so it’s sometimes the mother who must pay child support to the father. How is the child support amount decided? Take 20% the combined gross income of you and your ex-spouse. That’s what a court will have you pay in financial aid each month. After the 20% for the first child, an additional 10% of your combined gross income is added for each additional child. Thus, if your ex has primary custody of your three children, you’ll pay 40% of your combined gross income each month. 

Bear in mind that this amount can change depending on whether any of your children have special needs or other factors apply. 

Can My Ex-Spouse And I Agree To Waive Child Support?

When spouses divorce in Colorado, it becomes automatic and mandatory that one spouse pays child support. Child support has been mandatory for divorcing parents for decades because courts feared that the non-custodial parent would forgo all financial responsibility. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the non-custodial parent doesn’t want or refuses to pay child support, such as spite or never having wanted the divorce in the first place. Sometimes, the thought process is that you two may reunite if you make the separation difficult. 

But not all lack of child support payments stems from malicious reasons. Sometimes, neither parent believes child support is necessary. For example, if both of you are gainfully employed and you both agree that each of you can be trusted to be active parents in all aspects, you may find child support to be burdensome. After all, even very involved parents can find the amount they pay in monthly financial aid to be taxing. Thus, you and your ex may agree that neither of you will ask for child support during the divorce. Will the judge go for it?

No. As previously stated, child support is automatic and mandatory whenever a couple divorces. If you two had never married, however, child support would only be activated once one parent files for it. Child support is the right of children, not their parents. Because it is a right and not a privilege, you and your ex-spouse cannot agree to waive this right of your offspring.

April 12, 2022

What Happens in a Divorce?

Divorce Lawyer

Divorces are a difficult time for a family especially if children are involved. It’s always important to keep in mind how a divorce will change children’s lives as well as those of the separating spouses. While one spouse may feel jubilant to be relieved of their marriage the other may be struggling. Financial changes will almost always accompany a divorce as well. Other changes will come about too like potential alimony payments, child custody, and other issues. Many people turn to experienced professionals to help them get through a divorce along with support from family and close friends. If you or someone you know are going through a divorce it’s important to know that it will pass and new experiences are on the horizon.

Changes Resulting From a Divorce

Divorce will certainly bring about an ample amount of changes. A separation between the two spouses will occur. If they have children then it will need to be decided who gains custody of them. Custody battles can be difficult for everyone involved as they can bring about some abusive tactics to try and prove that one spouse either is or isn’t suitable to gain custody. Alimony may also be something that is ordered by the court where one spouse will need to pay a certain amount of money each month to the other spouse to care for children. Finances may be split as well in a divorce depending upon certain circumstances. Visitation rights for children will also be something that is determined for when certain parents will be able to visit and spend time with their children. 

How a Court Determines Divorce Proceedings

A court will take into account the differing details of the divorce settlement. They will look at each spouse and examine if they were faithful in the marriage or if there were any abusive actions. Depending on these circumstances a judge will order some actions to take place. They may give one spouse certain properties or money and give the other a different financial settlement. When it comes to dealing with the finances and different issues in a divorce many people turn to a divorce lawyer in their area for assistance. Divorce can be a tricky thing to navigate and that is why having an experienced and trusted divorce lawyer in Colorado from Zweig Law, PC can make the difference between a costly and time-consuming divorce or a speedy one with fewer headaches. 

March 19, 2022

Tips For Picking the Right Wrongful Death Lawyer For You 

Wrongful Death LawyerWrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one is difficult enough, but when you decide to seek financial compensation it can be hard to know if you have the right lawyer for you or not. Taking the case to trial without an experienced, wrongful death lawyer will only make the process more complicated. But how do you know that the lawyer you chose is the right one for you were not? 

We’ve cultivated is a list of useful tips to help you find the right wrongful death lawyer for you. With these tips, you can find a professional and experienced lawyer who can help you with your case so you don’t have to go out alone.

  • Case Experience 

There are many forms of what a wrongful death can look. When you start searching for a wrongful death lawyer, is important to check their experience cases similar to yours. You need to look for a wrongful death lawyer who specializes in cases like yours. This means you need to ask how long they’ve worked as a lawyer and then ask alone they specialize in wrongful death cases.

.You going to want someone who is up-to-date with the latest laws and procedures regarding a wrongful death suit. This means choosing a lawyer who not only specializes in a case like yours but is also up-to-date can bring you some peace of mind that your case is in good hands.

  • Wins and Losses 

Once you know the lawyer’s experience, you need to review their track record. Ask him how many wrongful death claims they have won over the last few years and consider how many cases they’ve been able to settle out of court. Their track record is going to be able to tell you if they have the experience and expertise to handle a case like yours.

You should also make a note about how many cases they have settled out of court. Some lawyers don’t have the trial experience to take anything to trial. This means they often settle the case as quickly as possible and you won’t get the compensation you deserve.

  • Testimonials 

 Just like when you go to buy a new product going to want to check the reviews to see if it’s good or not. The same thing is going to apply when you start looking for a lawyer to handle your case. You should ask your lawyer if they can provide any references from previous clients or other connections. If they can’t do this, then it is likely they don’t have good reviews and you should find a new lawyer. Another great way to check is to look online as often you will find an unbiased answer from previous clients there.

We know that finding a wrongful death lawyer might not be high on your list, but reaching out to a team like our friends at Saavedra Law Firm, PLC, is a good step in getting the compensation you deserve.