Call and speak to one of our experienced Douglas County divorce attorneys today at no cost 303-688-3045.
We have experienced teams of family law lawyers who can assist you with all facets of legal issues affecting families. Our domestic relations attorneys are former judges, prosecutors, or public defenders, so they know to present cases persuasively to judges. They are assisted by paralegals and legal assistants who are dedicated to family law matters, which reduce the overall costs of hiring a lawyer to assist you with these matters. We are here to assist you with:
- Allocation of Dependency Exemption for Minor Children
- Asset division
- Asset valuations
- Best Interest of the Children
- Business valuations
- Child and Family Investigator
- Child Support
- Civil Union Dissolution
- Common Law Marriage
- Custodial Relocation
- Debt Allocations
- Decision Making Allocation for Children
- Dissolution of Marriage
- Enforcement of Parenting Time
- Emergency Motions to Restrict Parenting Time
- International Child Custody
- Interstate Child Custody and Relocation Cases
- Legal Separations
- Modification of Custody, Parenting Time or Child Support
- No Fault Divorce
- Non-contested Divorce
- Partition of Real Property
- Parenting Plans
- Parenting Time
- Property Distribution
- Retirement Accounts
Our attorneys serve the Front Range Area, including the Denver metro area with offices in Castle Rock, Douglas County, Colorado. Providing representation in the local, state and federal courts including Douglas County, Elbert County, Arapahoe County, Denver City and County, El Paso County, Adams County, Eagle County, Pitkin County, and throughout the Colorado courts.
Divorce can be a difficult process, both emotionally and legally. From a legal perspective, even the simplest case can involve intricate questions of law and issues that are not as obvious as most people expect. Some people mistakenly believe that attorneys are only necessary if you and your spouse don’t get along, but if you and your spouse are still on friendly terms there is no need to “protect yourself” by hiring a lawyer. There is a common misconception to believe that an attorney is only useful if the divorce is contentious or if you and your spouse are currently involved in a battle.
There is also the false belief that hiring a divorce attorney makes a divorce more contentious. It is common for a person to be scared to hire an attorney, feeling that the mere presence of having an attorney will pose a threat to your spouse, and the parties will be further away from being able to settle the outstanding disputes. However, it is often the case that having an attorney will make friendly settlements much easier to obtain and to get them reduced to writing in a way that keeps you out of court, not only for the present situation, but in the future as well. A poorly written agreement often creates more contentious problems down the road and can seriously hamper your rights in the future. A good divorce lawyer will ensure that all reasonable efforts to settle the case happen before the case goes to a final hearing in front of a judge, and we have a 95% success rate in amicably resolving cases without going to hearing. Also, a good divorce lawyer will be able to explain possible resolutions, navigate through different ways of reaching agreements on issues, and then draft an agreement that keeps the parties out of court, both now and in the future.
Virtually all disputes between divorcing couples fall into two general categories: children’s issues or monetary issues. But even though there are only two principal categories of disputes, a typical divorce contains a large number of things that people can and may disagree about: parental decision-making (what we formally called “legal custody” in Colorado), parenting time (formally called visitation or “physical custody”), child support, maintenance (formerly called alimony), valuing/dividing/offsetting assets including real property, bank accounts, personal property, vehicles, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement assets, debts, business interests and then related matters such as mortgage interest or real property tax deductions, dependency exemptions, and provisions for sale or transfer of assets, including Qualified Domestic Relations Orders for retirement assets, are a few of the hundreds of possible issues that unrepresented parties in divorce sometimes overlook or reach bad agreements on, having never navigated through these issues before. Even when people are well-intentioned, it can be very difficult to come up with an agreement on everything when neither party knows how a judge would decide the issues if the people can’t agree, which is really the only way of knowing what is fair or reasonable to then base a settlement upon. Therefore, a good divorce lawyer is necessary not just when arguing the merits or law of your case in front of the judge, but to advise you as to how the judge will rule on all of the issues ahead of time, so you can reach a reasonable settlement. Finally, a seasoned attorney can reduce this agreement to writing in a way that keeps you out of court in the future, having seen hundreds of agreements come back to haunt parties later in unexpected ways.
Additionally, a divorce case does not just involve a day in court, like a traffic ticket. It is a process, just like any other civil case, where both parties have to comply with numerous disclosure requirements, parenting classes, and various requirements for legal pleadings to be submitted to the court before the court can dissolve the marriage. The rules governing disclosures and the submission of pleadings to the court were made for attorneys, not lay people, and they can be very difficult to understand and even more difficult to determine to what you are entitled. For example, if your spouse has an ownership interest in a business, you may wonder if you have the right to view some or all of the business’s financial documents or bank statements. Or if your spouse has a sizeable retirement fund and is stating that some of it was acquired prior to the date of the marriage, but hasn’t provided you with a complete copy of all of the statements, you may wonder if you have the right to see them. A divorce lawyer will make sure you have the documents to understand what you are entitled to receive from the marital estate or in the form of child support or maintenance, or what can be excluded from this division or calculations.
Some divorces also make use of more formal discovery processes, such as subpoenaing information from institutions to make sure that the information initially disclosed is accurate and complete, or having experts conduct an appraisal of an asset such a house or business. Even if the value can be easily agreed upon, most divorce cases involve the question of what to do about the marital residence. If you agree that your spouse will keep the marital home, how quickly should he or she be required to get your name off the mortgage so that your credit will be freed up to purchase another residence of your own? How much should he or she pay you for your portion of the martial equity in the house? Will the money come from a refinance or will it come from an offset of other assets in the marital estate? These are all questions that a seasoned divorce attorney will guide you through various ways of answering or resolving these issues. Your divorce lawyer will know how to not only recommend an appraiser, one that works quickly, cost-effectively, but could also testify in court if needed (as many appraisers are uncomfortable or unqualified testifying in court, if later needed), but also obtain an agreement or order on how the costs of the appraisal should be paid. There are experts available for other issues, as well: such as business interests, asset tracking, child and family investigators, parental responsibility (custody) evaluators, and spousal maintenance calculations, to name a few. Obviously, experts should be avoided when there is no cost-benefit in a case and a seasoned divorce attorney will be able to advise you on when an expert might be useful and when they might just be a waste of money.
Deciding whether to file for divorce is the single most important decision you may make in your life. In Colorado, a divorce cannot happen overnight, but it can be approved ninety days after the date of filing the initial documents with the court. But simply the act of filing a divorce, and serving the divorce petition to the spouse, causes numerous automatic orders to enter, and these issues need to come into play when considering whether to file for divorce. A divorce lawyer can explain all the ramifications that will fall on you and your spouse if a divorce case is filed. There are orders that get put in place to protect your assets, as well as your children, that may be of significant benefit to you. And, then, work to draft an agreement, which will hopefully avoid additional costs in the case, such as mediation or going to a hearing.
The divorce process is somewhat different between each county of Colorado, but all of them entail three basic steps: (I) Discovery and disclosure, (II) interim orders (or temporary orders), and (III) final orders. When a divorce case is filed, the disclosure and discovery process starts right away. Both sides are obligated to exchange financial documents and both sides can make additional discovery requests and/or request that experts be appointed. After the initial filing, either party can request a hearing for temporary or interim orders, if they are unable to reach agreements on the more immediate issues created by a divorce. This temporary orders hearing is usually short (often limited to an hour long) and is usually in front of a magistrate, where the magistrate will enter temporary orders, which are valid until the final or permanent orders hearing. Temporary child support, temporary maintenance, temporary use of the marital home and temporary allocations of parenting time are all examples of temporary orders. Since they are only intended to be short-lived orders, the magistrate tries to limit the amount of things requested at a temporary orders hearing. If the parties can reach agreements, with the assistance of a skilled lawyer, these hearings can usually be avoided, thereby paving the way to further agreements and a more amicable future relationship, which is particularly important where the parties will be forced to co-parent children following the divorce.
By contrast, final orders are determined at a permanent orders hearing at the end of the case. If the parties are unable to reach any agreements, the permanent orders hearing can take an entire day, or even longer, depending on the complexity of the issues or the number of witnesses to testify and because of its complexity, few people feel comfortable proceeding to permanent orders without an attorney. In most cases, an attorney can assist the parties in reaching a full agreement and avoid the need for any hearings in a divorce. In others, final orders hearings are more limited; for example, parents may agree on what the parenting plan should look like, but the parties don’t agree on how to divide the property. Both the permanent orders hearing and the temporary orders hearing are evidentiary hearings, of which having an attorney is essential to property present evidence and testimony.
Though we’ve listed three steps in a divorce case, only the first step is mandatory (that is, in order to get a divorce, both parties have to comply with the disclosure rules, no exceptions). The divorce case can be resolved without going to either the temporary orders or final orders hearing if the parties can agree to all of the issues. This is also where having a skilled and experienced divorce attorney is advantageous. This type of attorney will not only assist you in obtaining a reasonable resolution to your case, he or she can also ensure that your resolution resolves all the issues so that you can obtain a divorce as amicably and efficiently as possible.
Our divorce attorneys are available for a free telephone consultation today! Please call us at 303-688-3045 or contact us.
Areas of expertise
- Child Family Investigator
- Child Support
- Common Law Marriage
- Custodial Relocation
- Custody and Visitation
- Legal Separations
- Parenting Plans
- Property/Asset Distribution
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