Divorce Attorney/Legal Separation

One of the most common reasons to seek the advice and representation of a family law attorney has to do with divorce or annulment. Often these cases also include figuring out child custody and visitation rights as well as spousal and child support.

Before consulting a divorce attorney, there are a couple of things to know about filing for divorce in Colorado:

  • At least one spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 90 days.
  • Colorado is a no-fault state, which means that your petition for the dissolution of marriage will not place blame on either partner for the divorce.
  • State law mandates an equitable distribution of marital property.
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony) has numerous factors attributed to the final award amount, making professional legal representation a must to protect your interests.

With over 30 years of experience serving Colorado Springs and other cities, Dailey Law, P.C., recognizes that this time in your life can be both emotionally and financially stressful. We are on your side, and we will work to protect your interests throughout the entire process of your divorce or separation. Our goal is to facilitate a resolution that is cost effective and satisfactory so that you can move on with your life.

How Marital Property is Divided in a Colorado Divorce

At Dailey Law, P.C., we know how challenging ending a relationship can be. Even when couples part on amicable terms, conflicts can arise when it comes to dividing property and making financial arrangements.Every case is unique, and the first step in the process is to determine what debt and assets each person brought to the partnership before the union, referred to as separate property, and which property should remain separate.

The state of Colorado uses the concept of “equitable distribution” to divide property. This law means that property will be divided based on what’s fair, rather than in “common law” states, where the property is divided equally in a 50-50 split.

Determining “fairness” is highly subjective. Spouses that have earned more during the course of the marriage are typically entitled to a larger share of the resources, making the issue complex for both parties when there are significant assets involved.

Other Divorce Issues

Dividing assets and debt is just one piece of the divorce puzzle. There are countless other issues having to do with ongoing financial support, child custody, and even domestic violence. The waters can be challenging to navigate, especially when there are emotions like anger, fear, hurt, and betrayal involved.

Having experienced and effective legal representation can make the process smoother while also helping to avoid any unexpected issues that can arise months or years later.

It is nearly impossible to anticipate all of the questions that need to be addressed during the divorce process if you’re trying to go it alone. All contingencies need to be evaluated. Here are just a few of them to consider:

  • Support
    • What are all the sources of income? Self-employed spouses may try to hide assets.
    • How will fair financial support be determined, especially when children are involved?
  • Child Custody
    • Will custody of the child or children be awarded to one parent, or will both parents share physical custody in a joint custody arrangement?
    • How will visitation work?
    • How will special events and holidays be divided?
  • Domestic violence
    • How unpredictable and extreme is the abusive person’s behavior?
    • Does a restraining order need to be filed?
    • How does one address a false domestic abuse allegation?

Is Mediation an Option for My Divorce?

Our legal team in Colorado Springs represents clients in all dispute resolution models, including court (traditional litigation), mediation, arbitration, settlement conferences, and appeals. Mediation is an option to consider because it tends to reduce the amount of conflict between the two parties as well as the expense involved with elaborate divorce hearings and proceedings.

The resolutions that come from mediation often result in positive outcomes for both parties, instead of one person feeling as if they got the proverbial short end of the stick. Achieving this level of satisfaction and closure is crucial, especially when there are children involved. Both parents should feel at peace with what’s been decided to avoid tension, resentment, and arguments that will negatively affect the child.

Mediation is often sought when the original agreements need a “tune-up.” When financial or life circumstances change, or the needs of a child evolve, couples may want to revisit the arrangement with the time and expense involved in going back to court. In cases like these, mediation is an efficient and less arduous process.

Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer Even if We Agree on Everything?

You might be considering the idea of representing yourself, especially if your legal separation is straightforward and you both agree on all of the terms.

Here are four reasons by it’s a better idea to enlist the help of an attorney specializing in divorce and legal separation:

  1. You might not actually agree on everything. The issues you and your partner discussed might cover the basics, but there’s usually more that needs to be resolved that you hadn’t yet considered. For example, you might have agreed on terms for spousal support, but here are just a few of the many other questions that need to be agreed upon in writing:
    1. Will the payments be made monthly? Weekly? Yearly?
    2. How will the funds be received? By direct deposit? In person? A mailed check?
    3. What are the penalties, if any, for late or missed payments?
  1. The agreement still needs to be drafted. A cocktail napkin or piece of scrap paper outlining the terms of your divorce won’t be recognized by the court. Also, there’s a standard language present in every agreement that protects your rights. We refer to this as boilerplate language. It’s beyond the scope of this discussion, but it’s necessary to include it to cover all the bases in a divorce.
  2. The paperwork needs to be filed. Technically, you can submit your own paperwork, but it’s an arduous process and takes a lot of time if you’ve never done it before. A divorce attorney is experienced at filing paperwork, and it’ll take a lot less time to have it done by a professional.
  3. You might be giving up much more than you should. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for a spouse to take advantage of their partner. In an effort to make the process as painless and quick as possible, you might agree to things you shouldn’t. You might find out later that you got a bad deal. You may even be tempted to go back to court to fight for what is rightfully yours, which is an expensive and time-consuming process.By enlisting the help of an attorney at Dailey Law, P.C., we’ll never let you enter into an agreement that is grossly unfair. We will advocate for your rights and equitable treatment every step of the way.

Even though hearing that you need a divorce attorney might not be the answer you were looking for, the good news is that if you and your (former) partner do agree on most of the issues, the attorney fees will be considerably less than if there were conflicts.