No one goes into a marriage thinking that it will end in divorce, but the reality is that this can and does happen for variety of reasons. Still, a divorce can be one of the most difficult and stressful events that a person will ever go through. If you are contemplating ending your marriage, you should know that having the right attorney by your side can ease the process considerably. The family law lawyers at Springer & Steinberg have been assisting Metro-Denver/Boulder residents and others with divorce, property division, and child custody issues for decades. With more than 30 years of experience in the area of family law, including complex custody matters, property division, valuation of business assets, and spousal support, we are here to serve all of your divorce-related legal needs.Seeking a Divorce under Colorado Law
The State of Colorado requires that a person reside in the state for at least 90 days before being eligible to seek a divorce. Once this residency requirement has been met, a petition for divorce can be filed in the county in which either spouse resides. (In situations in which a spouse is in the armed forces, special rules may apply, however.) If there is property to be divided or children to be considered, this information will be included in the petition as well.
Since Colorado is considered a pure “no fault” divorce state, it is not necessary to allege any particular wrongdoing by the respondent spouse. Instead, most divorces proceed under the assertion that the marriage has been irretrievably broken due to irreconcilable differences. In extraordinary cases, the court may consider a party’s economic fault when dividing property or awarding alimony (now called maintenance).
After the petition for divorce and summons have been served upon the responding spouse, the respondent is given time to file an answer and, if he or she chooses, retain counsel. The case then proceeds to the discovery phase, during which the parties exchange information concerning marital assets and liabilities, as well as matters pertaining to child custody and support payments. It may be necessary to retain expert witnesses during this phase of the case, and these witnesses may eventually testify in court if the case is not settled by agreement. Selecting the right experts is an important consideration and can have a strong influence on the final outcome of the case.
Property accumulated by a couple during marriage is divided equitably, except for gifts and inherences. An “equitable” division of property is not necessarily an equal division. Instead, it is to be a “fair” division rather than a 50-50 split. The court considers several factors when distributing property, including each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of marital property, the value of the property given to each spouse, the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time that the property is divided, and the increase or decrease in any separate property of the spouses during the marriage.
It is important to note that an “equitable” division of property is not necessarily an equal division. Instead, it is to be a “fair” division rather than a 50-50 split.Considerations for Couples with Children
Under Colorado law, there is a presumption that children should have frequent contact with both parents. The statutes divide “custody” issues into two types: parenting time and decision making. While joint custody arrangements are favored, the best interest of the child is of paramount consideration in custody determinations and matters pertaining to visitation. Calculating child support includes factors like the parents’ relative incomes, their expenses, lifestyle, and other resources.. If one parent is found to be intentionally earning less than he or she could earn under normal circumstances, additional income may be imputed to that spouse in calculating child support. Particularly contentious issues include determining parenting time and calculating income.Contact a Denver Lawyer to Protect Your Interests during Divorce
Many people think that they can save money by handling their own divorce. Since so much is usually at stake, however, it is wise to retain counsel in order to seek a fair division of assets, child support, and custody arrangements. The divorce attorneys at Springer & Steinberg can guide people in Denver and the surrounding areas through the process of attempting to end a marriage in a way that will allow them to begin their future on sound financial footing. Call us at 877-473-6004 or contact us online to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case. We advise individuals throughout Douglas, Arapahoe, and Jefferson Counties, as well as other areas of Colorado.