Answering your pressing questions
Wading through the confusing paperwork and options in a divorce or child custody case is daunting without professional assistance. Below, we've answered some common questions about Family Law in Colorado. It's a good place to start to learn more about your options.
Q. When will the court award alimony or spousal support?
A. Alimony, or maintenance as it is known in Colorado, may be awarded to the dependent spouse by the court periodically over a specific or indefinite period of time. Our firm also assists in obtaining support modifications due to changes of circumstances in our client's case.
Q. How is child support calculated?
A. Child support guidelines are based on what the family would have spent for the child's cares had the parents not separated. Some things that are considered when calculating child support are the gross income of each parent, the age and needs of each child, the number of overnight visits with each parent, extraordinary expenses such as work related child care and health insurance costs, and whether either parent has a duty to support another older child of a different relationship or previous spouse.
Q. When the court has issued a support order, can the amount of support be changed?
A. Child support and spousal support can be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change. For spousal support, the test is whether the substantial and continuing change is such to make the current order unfair. For child support there must be a 10% change in the child support figure.
Q. What happens if a person paying child support moves out of state?
A. Child support continues. The recipient should make certain of where the person who's paying the child support is living and working.
Q. What are a parent's obligations to their children?
A. A parent is responsible for supporting his or her child financially and emotionally, as well as supporting the relationship that the child has with the other parent, providing that contact with the other parent is in the child's best interests.
Q. How does a court decide which parent will get custody of a child?
A. The court decides what is in the best interest of the child. Some factors that the court would consider are history of parenting, spousal or child abuse, the ability of each parent to support the child's relationship with the other parent, the ability of a parent to put the child's needs ahead of his/her own needs, and even the child's wishes, if the child is mature enough to express his/her wishes.
Q. What is the divorce process like?
A. Going through a divorce has been compared to the death of a loved one. A divorce can be equally traumatic to a child. This is why the court takes so much care when making decisions regarding each case. While a divorce is a life changing event, it can also be a very positive life changing event. Our firm specializes in giving support to our clients as they go through this journey.
Q. What assets are divided in court?
A. All assets that are deemed to be "marital" are either assets that were acquired during the marriage or that are gained through appreciation on a party's separate property during the marriage. The definition of assets is very broad and for this reason it's important to have an attorney's help.
Q. What should be included in a separation agreement?
A. The purpose of a Separation Agreement is to divide any property and debts that you and your spouse have incurred. A Separation Agreement provides for allocation of parental responsibilities, custody, parenting time and support of any minor children of the relationship.
Q. How long will the divorce take?
A. This will vary from case to case and county to county. The divorce process lasts a minimum of 91 days (per statute) and can take up to 2 years. Our firm specializes in resolving matters quickly and effectively.
Q. What do you do during the proceedings of the divorce?
A. Each party has an obligation to disclose all financial records and periodically update them. Each party should assist the attorney in preparing the case, and take part in the court proceedings, mediation, and final hearing if necessary.
Q. What is a Civil Protection Order?
A. A Civil Protection Order is an official court order designed to stop violent, harassing, or intimidating behavior and to protect you and your family members from an abuser or stalker. You should always meet with an attorney to see if your situation meets the criteria.
Q. If I have a same sex marriage from another state, can I obtain a divorce in Colorado?
A. Yes, as long as you meet the Colorado residency requirements.
Q. How do I know if I need a prenuptial agreement?
A. Prenuptial agreements are often drafted if there are significant assets brought to the marriage by one or both parties. Call us for a consultation and we can review your situation to determine if a prenup is right for you.