“Men’s Rights” in Colorado?

by Jake M. Lustig 

In a recent post[1], the online real estate website Estately Blog combed through 11 years of Google search data to try and determine the unique search tendencies for every state in the U.S. The post attempted to highlight the “most embarrassing” term that users in each state Google more than the other states. Unsurprisingly, the results were both funny and sometimes painfully telling.

While folks in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, to be specific) are determined to find the truth behind “sandals and socks,” South Dakota residents seem inclined to brush up on their “Lion Hunting.” Meanwhile, internet users in the South are comparing “casserole recipes” (Alabama) to “meth recipes” (Georgia) while the citizens of Maine prepare for karaoke night with searches for “Nickelback lyrics.”

Perhaps the most telling of all of these results is the predominance of Google users here in Colorado searching for “Men’s Rights.”

The subject of “men’s rights” has been a controversial topic since its rise to the public sphere in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Some vocal proponents of the men’s rights movement may view it as necessary to combat 1960’s-era feminist ideologies that have “gone too far” and seek to restore equality in numerous areas such as family law, domestic violence, and education. On the other hand, opponents may see the movement as a misogynistic and fear-based attempt by men to maintain a dominance role in society. Regardless of one’s views regarding “men’s rights,” there are many men in Colorado and across the country who are specifically concerned about their rights with respect to divorce, custody, and other areas of family law.

Historically, Colorado courts followed the “tender years doctrine,” which provided that a mother had a superior right to custody of her child or children during the early years of life. As recently as 1967, a Colorado Supreme Court case stated that “custody of children of tender years is ordinarily given to the mother.”[2]

However, times have changed since the 1960’s. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, jurisdictions around the country began revising their custody laws to eliminate a gender preference.[3] Colorado followed the lead of other states and in 1983, the Colorado General Assembly enacted C.R.S. 14-10-124, more commonly known as the “Best Interests of the Child” standard. The Best Interests of the Child standard encourages both parents, to share time, effort, and responsibilities devoted to the care of their children.[4]

Today, the Best Interests of the Child standard explicitly provides that the court cannot presume that a parent would better serve the best interests of the child because of that parent’s sex or gender.[5]

Furthermore, the payment of alimony, known in Colorado as spousal maintenance, is determined based on factors that include each party’s income, financial resources, and the reasonable needs of the parties as established during the marriage.[6] There is no preference or presumption under Colorado law for the payment of spousal maintenance from husband to wife.

Even though our laws have changed and courts are now prohibited from making presumptions based on a parent or spouse’s gender, parties of either gender in Colorado may still feel helpless or prejudiced during a divorce or custody dispute.

If you feel that your rights may be endangered, it is important that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable and skilled family law attorney. Call (303) 968-1711 today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Woody Law Firm, LLC. Our attorneys can provide you with the advice, insight, and compassion to protect your rights throughout your family law matter.


[1] http://blog.estately.com/2015/08/mapping-each-states-most-embarassing-google-searches/

[2] Kelley v. Kelley, 423 P.2d 315, 318 (Colo. 1967).

[3] See In re Marriage of Wall, 686 P.2d 387 (Colo. 1994).

[4] Id. at 392-93.

[5] C.R.S. § 14-10-124(3).

[6] C.R.S. § 14-10-114(3).

Mr. Lustig is an associate attorney at Woody Law Firm. He has been with the firm for two years and is rapidly becoming one of Denver’s brightest new family lawyers. His practice is focused on assisting families from all walks of life navigate the challenges of the legal system when they are faced with major life transitions such as new births, divorce, adoption, etc. Call today to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Lustig at 303-968-1711.

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