Colorado Divorce Lawyer Serving Clients in Denver
Reaching the decision to file for divorce can be one of the most difficult and emotional choices a person can make. When you are considering divorce, it is extremely important to have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. While some divorces can be relatively straightforward when both spouses agree on everything, it is rare for a divorce to not involve any contentious issues. Divorce is one of the single most stressful things a person can go through, and we firmly believe that no one should have to struggle through this process alone. From financial concerns about property division or alimony to questions about the allocation of parental responsibilities, it is essential to work with a dedicated divorce attorney who can advocate for your rights and provide you with guidance every step of the way.
At the Law Office of Eric M. Edwards, we know how important it is to have an experienced attorney on your side during your divorce. The Denver divorce lawyers at our firm can get started on your case today.
Types of Divorce Matters We Handle in Metro Denver, Colorado
Our divorce lawyers in Denver handle a wide variety of issues in divorce cases, including but not limited to the following:
- Filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage;
- Determining whether divorce or annulment is appropriate to end your marriage;
- Determining whether your common law marriage is valid;
- High asset divorces;
- Complex property division;
- Classifying marital and separate property;
- Dividing a business in divorce;
- LGBT divorce or dissolving a civil union;
- Child support;
- Allocation of parental responsibilities;
- Parentage (in situations where the paternity of the child is in question); and
Process of Filing for Divorce in Denver, Colorado
Under Colorado law, in order to be eligible for a divorce, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of the state for at least 91 days. Once that condition has been met, either party can file a petition for the dissolution of marriage.
In Colorado, the party requesting the divorce (referred to as the “Petitioner”) who files for divorce does not have to prove fault. Instead, since Colorado is what is known as a “no fault” divorce state, the court only needs to find that the marriage is irretrievably broken in order to grant a divorce. The statute makes clear that when a Colorado court enters a decree of dissolution of marriage, it will also do the following if they are relevant to the parties’ circumstances:
- Allocate parental responsibilities with respect to any minor child born or adopted during the marriage;
- Allocate support for any child of the marriage entitled to support;
- Allocate maintenance for either spouse; and
- Distribute marital property according to a theory of equitable distribution.
Dividing Marital Property in a Denver Divorce
Courts in Denver, Colorado divide marital property according to a theory known as “equitable distribution.” This means that all marital assets and debts will be distributed to the parties in a manner that the court determines to be fair to both spouses. Only marital property will be divided; separate property is not subject to distribution. It is important to remember that marital property includes both assets and debts of the marriage.
Separate property typically includes the following:
- Property acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage;
- Property classified as “separate” in a prenuptial agreement;
- Property acquired by only one spouse during the marriage through an inheritance;
- Property acquired by only one spouse during the marriage as a gift;
- Property acquired after a legal separation; and/or
- Property acquired in exchange for separate property.
If a party is not careful about how they treat their separate property they might accidentally cause it to be commingled with marital property, at which point it is no longer separate property. Other types of property may be classified as separate property, and it is important to discuss your case with a Denver divorce lawyer. Any property that is not separate is considered “marital” and will be divided. When a court is determining what type of distribution would be equitable, it takes into account many relevant factors, which the statute lists as follows:
- Contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the property;
- Contribution of a spouse as a homemaker;
- Value of the property distributed to each spouse;
- Economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of property distribution;
- Increases or decreases in value of either spouse’s separate property during the marriage; and
- Depletion of either spouse’s separate property during the marriage for marital purposes.
Support Considerations in a Denver Divorce
During a divorce in Denver, the court will need to determine whether spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance) is appropriate, and it will also need to determine the appropriate amount of child support if there are minor children from the marriage.
Colorado law now has alimony guidelines that help a court to determine whether alimony is appropriate, and if so, the appropriate amount and duration of the support. While the guidelines are not binding, they provide a formula for calculating maintenance for marriages that have lasted between 3 and 20 years to make the process more objective. This is how the court determines the appropriate amount of alimony when following the guidelines:
- Take 40 percent of the payor spouse’s income;
- Subtract 50 percent of the payee spouse’s income; and
- Remainder is the award as long as it does not exceed 40 percent of the spouses’ combined incomes.
Child support amounts are determined through the Colorado Child Support Guidelines.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
In any divorce with minor children from the marriage, courts will allocate parental responsibilities. While Colorado used to use the term “child custody,” courts now allocate parental responsibilities. Parental responsibilities include:
- Parenting time (or physical custody of the child); and
- Decision-making responsibilities (or legal custody of the child).
Parents can share these responsibilities, and in most cases they do. Courts want to make sure that children have the opportunity to spend time with both parents and to develop close parent-child relationships with both parents. However, family situations may exist in which it is only appropriate for one parent to have parental responsibilities. For example, in situations where one parent has been involved in violent crimes or has caused harm to the child, the court may allocate parental responsibilities solely to one parent.
The allocation of parental responsibilities occurs on a case-by-case basis, and the court allocates parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interests of the child. Hiring a knowledgeable and persuasive divorce attorney is essential to presenting arguments for what you believe is in the child’s best interests.
Contact Our Denver Divorce Lawyers
If you have questions or concerns about divorce in Colorado, a Denver divorce attorney at our firm can begin working with you today. Contact the Law Office of Eric M. Edwards, LLC to learn more about the services we provide to clients in Colorado.