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Richard A. Harris, President, The Harris Law Firm, P.C.

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rich@harrisfamilylaw.com
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Richard A. Harris Originally from New York City, Rich Harris, Esq. has made Colorado his home for over 20 years. Rich received his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California and his Juris Doctor degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Rich's passion for superior representation in the practice of divorce and child custody law is the driving force behind The Harris Law Firm. He has been recognized by his peers in the legal community on numerous occasions, and frequently lectures on family law issues. Committed to the idea that clients should be as informed as possible about their legal rights, he is the author of numerous, published articles about family law. Rich co-authored the publication, Colorado Family Law Deskbook by Bradford Publishing.
 

Access the publication here: http://www.bradfordpublishing.com/Family-Law-Deskbook-with-Forms-Revised-Edition
In 2006, Rich Harris was chosen to be one of Denver's 40 Under 40 based on his business leadership, community involvement, and recognition of his accomplishments. Each year, the Denver Business Journal has includes a special section called "40 Under 40" to recognize a diverse group of young, dynamic business leaders whose efforts in the workplace and in the community are shaping the future of Denver.

In 2006, 2007 and 2008, Rich was selected as one of Colorado Super Lawyers for Family Law. Super Lawyers are considered leading attorneys in the area of law in which they practice, and are selected via a survey of the state's top lawyers by Law & Politics Magazine. In 2011, and 2012, Rich was voted Best Family Law Attorney by Law Week Colorado's Barrister's Best Issue, and the firm was voted Best Family Law Firm in Denver, by the People's Choice per Law Week Colorado in 2010. Also in 2010,  Rich  was an invited speaker at Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section annual meeting and addressed practice management issues, including those that have allowed his firm to maximize client service and case management. In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the State Supreme Court recognized Rich and The Harris Law Firm as a leader in pro bono activity. In 2011Rich  was the only family law attorney of the finalists for the Top Ten Lawyers of the Decade by Law Week Colorado.  Also in 2011,The Harris Law Firm was nominated as Law Firm of the Year by the Colorado Lawyers Committee (CLC). Over two-thirds of the firm's attorneys have donated their time to projects sponsored by the CLC, an organization dedicated to protecting the legal rights of Colorado's children and the underprivileged.

Rich has been consistently awarded the highest "AV" rating from Martindale-Hubbell. The AV rating is the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a peer review rating process that is managed and monitored by the world's most trusted legal resource. He has also been ranked a 10 by Avvo, the highest ranking available. He also serves on the board of the Colorado Lawyers Committee, is a leader in the legal community in promoting diversity, and is very active in the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. Rich is a Fellow of the Colorado Bar Association, and is active in Rotary International and The Denver Bar Association. In 2009 Rich was appointed as Chair of the Board of Metro Volunteer Lawyers, an organization that coordinates pro bono service to indigent people throughout the Denver metropolitan area. In 2009, Rich founded and currently serves as the President of "The Road to Hope", a Colorado-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping to promote development in Haiti, with a particular emphasis on children.

 

Recent Press Releases about Rich Harris:

 
Parenting Time, Marijuana, and Amendment 64

“With the recent passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado, marijuana use is sure to become more of a factor in future Colorado family law cases.” - Rich Harris, President and Managing Partner of The Harris Law Firm.

Colorado Amendment 64:
In 2012, Colorado voters amended the state constitution by passing Amendment 64 and making the limited possession and private recreational use of marijuana legal under Colorado law.  Colorado became one of the first states to face many of the issues regarding marijuana regulation and enforcement at the state and local level.  One of the major areas of concern is how the legal recreational use of marijuana will affect Colorado Family Law.

Colorado Family Law:
Parental drug use is a common issue in cases involving parenting time disputes.  In some cases, the Courts will order parenting time restrictions when there is persuasive evidence that drug abuse endangers the minor children involved.  

The questions that Colorado family law attorneys are now asking are:

  1. How will the legalization of marijuana affect parenting time?
  2. Will the Courts now view a parent who occasionally uses marijuana in the same way they would a parent who has a glass of wine with dinner?
  3. Will the Courts treat a parent who grows marijuana the same as it treats a parent who brews his or her own beer?

Colorado Case Law:
In a Colorado divorce case in 2010, the Court ordered a parenting plan limiting the father's parenting time to supervised visits because the parent had a history of smoking marijuana.  In addition, the Court ordered that he submit to a series of regular urinary analyses to prove that he no longer used marijuana.  Shortly thereafter, the father obtained a medical marijuana license, and filed a motion to dismiss the supervision provision in the parenting plan.  The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that it could not require supervised parenting time absent specific findings of child endangerment.  

Evidence of Endangerment:
If a parent wants the Court to restrict the other parent’s parenting time because of marijuana use then they prove that endangerment issues apply.  The legal use of marijuana alone will probably not be sufficient because the parent must prove that the marijuana use endangers the child's physical health or significantly impairs the child's emotional development.

Conclusion:
The legalization of marijuana in the State of Colorado presents a number of issues that may affect parenting time in this state. Family law attorneys are aware of the potential complexities that may arise when a parent uses a formerly illegal substance during his or her parenting time. The appointment of a substance abuse expert may have to be employed in order to determine whether a parent's use of marijuana impairs his or her ability to behave in a responsible manner when the children are in their care. Colorado family law attorneys are anticipating that the passage of Amendment 64 will create many questions when the court is considering if a pot smoking parent is interacting with their children in a dependable, consistent, and reliable way,  and whether or not the best interests of the children are being served.

More Infomation:
As we obtain more clarity on this issue, the lawyers at The Harris Law Firm will continue to comment on Amendment 64 and its effect on parenting issues in The State of Colorado. Information will be posted online at www.harrisfamlilylaw.com regarding how the Courts are dealing with the complexities associated with this new legislation, and how this amendment is affecting family law cases in the State of Colorado.

Recent Articles featuring Rich Harris:

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