Providing seasoned advocacy for you in divorce and custody cases.
For over 40 years, our firm has been providing clients with the seasoned advocacy that they need when encountering one of life’s most difficult challenges–divorce.
We have experienced teams of divorce lawyers, paralegals and other professionals who can assist you with all facets of legal issues affecting families. Our divorce attorneys are former judges, prosecutors, or public defenders, so they know to present cases persuasively to judges. Many divorce attorneys are uncomfortable in the courtoom, but ours have the large numbers of trials under their belts that only these prior experiences can provide an attorney.
Our teams of divorce lawyers are dedicated to family law matters, and we work together as a team with paralegals and legal assistants, which reduce the overall costs of hiring a lawyer to assist you with these matters.
We are here to assist you with any type of family law matter in Colorado, just give us a free telephone call at 303-688-3045 to find out more about how we can help you with your matter, including:
We Offer the Full-Array of Colorado Divorce Services for Our Clients:
- Allocation of the 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
- Declaration of Invality of Marriage
- Dissolution of Marriage
- Early Neutral Evaluation
- Enforcement of Parenting Time
- Emergency Motions to Restrict Parenting Time
- High Net Worth Divorces
- International Child Custody Matters
- Interstate Child Custody Matters
- Legal Separations
- Military Divorce
- Modification of Custody, Parenting Time or Child Support
- No Fault Divorce in Colorado
- Non-contested Divorce
- Partition of Real Property
- Parenting Plans
- Parenting Time
- Property Distribution
- Relocation of Minor Children/Removal of Children from the State of Colorado
- Retirement Accounts
Divorce can be a difficult process, both emotionally and financially. It doesn’t need to be a difficult process legally, which is where we can help you navigate the maze of documents, mediation requirements and court hearings, which are only necessary if your case is not one of the 95% of cases that we settle.
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 divorce attorneys are only necessary if you and your spouse don’t get along, but if you and your spouse are still on friendly terms they sometimes think that there is no need to “protect yourself” by hiring a lawyer. There is a common misconception to believe that a divorce lawyer is only useful if the divorce is contentious or if you and your spouse are currently involved in a battle.
Hiring a Colorado Divorce Lawyer to Serve You in Your Colorado Family Law Matter
There is also the false belief that hiring a divorce lawyer 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 a divorce lawyer will assist you in knowing what a fair settlement looks like from the outset. By knowing what is a fair settlement before you file for a divorce, divorcing couples can work together better when they do communicate about settlement issues.
Our senior partner has taught mediation classes to other attorneys and mediators, so he knows from experience how to best prepare for and utilize mediation to resolve cases. And, he has strategies for resolving cases prior to mediation, as mediation is a court-ordered requirement in many counties in Colorado, but it is not required if the case settles before mediation. We train our teams of attorneys and professionals in these strategies, and we assist many clients in doing just that—thereby saving money, time and sleepless nights for both parties.
Perhaps even more important to reaching an agreement is having the experience reduce the agreement to writing in a way that keeps you out of court well after the divorce when other problems may arise such as parenting time disputes, spousal maintenance modifications, child support modifications, or other issues that may arie. We have the expertise to not only reduce your agreement to writing in your divorce, in a way that is not only for the present situation, but will safeguard as much as possible for the future as well.
A poorly written agreement by parties without attorneys is looked at by many divorce attorneys as their best source of future business, as it often creates more contentious problems down the road, leading to more litigation. And, even worse, a badly written agreement 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, the best divorce lawyers will be able to easily explain possible resolutions, navigate artfully through different ways of reaching agreements on issues, and then draft a customized agreement that keeps the parties out of court, both now and in the future.
Virtually all areas of contention 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: allocation of 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. We have been down these roads hundreds if not thousands of times before, so we invite you to let our experience be your guide.
Even when people have good intentions, 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, the best divorce attorney 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. In order to do that, the divorce attorney has to have spent a lot of time in the courtroom.
Finally, a seasoned divorce lawyer 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 making a trip to the courthouse for a couple of hours, like a traffic ticket does. 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 enter a divorce decree. The rules governing disclosures and the submission of pleadings to the court were made for divorce attorneys, not lay people, and they can be difficult to understand. The laws governing divorce are a complex web of statutes and case law, which has developed and changed over the past decades. Finally judges often having differing views of how to apply the law to a particular case, as each case is unique, so becomes even more difficult to determine to what you are entitled.
One of the first issues to determining what a fair settlement looks like is having a fair disclosure or valuation. Each side of the case usually has a posture on that issue. For instance, 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 sizable 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. Our experienced divorce professionals have the experience in law, business, and real estate, to know how to get the documents and valuations you need to determine what is fair, while not wasting time with documents that may not be necessary.
Experienced divorce lawyers will make sure you have the documents to understand what a fair amount of child support or maintenance looks like, given each party’s income which may not be a clear cut number. 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. We have the experience to keep your case as simple as possible, whenever that is possible, or to conduct a thorough investigation or get an evaluation if that becomes necessary.
Other frequent issues that are not easily answered without experience in divorce courtrooms include various timing and structure issues. For instance, 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 options for resolving these issues.
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 lawyer 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-one days after the date of filing the initial documents with the court.
But the simple 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 Throughout the Colorado Front Range
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 mandatory disclosure process starts right away. Both sides are obligated to exchange a mandatory list of required financial documents. Thereafter, both sides can make additional discovery requests and/or requests 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 just 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, a divorce attorney can assist the parties in reaching a full agreement and avoid the need for any hearings in a divorce. In other cases, the need for a hearing might not be able to be avoided but agreements may be reached for final orders hearings which 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 a divorce 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 requirements). 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 Colorado divorce attorneys are available for a free telephone consultation today on cases throughout Colorado! Please call us at 303-688-3045 or contact us.
Get a Free, No Hassle, Telephone Consultation from an Experienced Castle Rock Divorce Lawyers 303-688-3045. Our attorneys are based in Douglas County, but we serve the courts throughout the Front Range and the entire State of Colorado.