Divorce Attorney Greenwood Village

Divorce Attorney in Greenwood Village, CO

Divorce is one of those life events that is universally challenging. Although it is easy to get caught up in the emotional baggage that tends to accompany divorce, it is important to focus on protecting your rights – both parental and financial – from the outset, and an experienced divorce attorney in Greenwood Village can help you get the job done. 

The Terms of Your Colorado Divorce

While the details of your divorce will be unique to your situation, the terms that must be resolved remain the same for every divorcing couple in Colorado. These include (as applicable):

Each of these issues can be complicated to resolve. You might think that you and your spouse agree on all relevant issues, but your agreement might not be in line with your rights. You also might reach roadblocks in negotiations, and a lawyer can assist with resolving all necessary issues – either out of court or before a family judge.

Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities refer to what you may think of as legal custody, which specifies who will be making the fundamental parenting decisions moving forward. These include decisions about matters such as where your children will make their primary home, where they will attend school, the extracurriculars and travel they will participate in, the medical care they will receive, and the religious upbringing they will experience. You and your divorcing spouse can address this decision-making responsibility in any of the following ways:

  • You negotiate each decision between yourselves. 
  • You negotiate each decision between yourselves, but one of you reserves the right to break a tie if it becomes necessary to do so.
  • You divide the decisions between the two of you according to category.
  • One of you is awarded sole parental responsibilities, and this parent has the responsibility of making all of the primary parenting decisions on their own. 

It is worth noting that the everyday decisions that all parents everywhere need to make about matters such as the lunch menu and whether or not there is time to run to the park – to name just a few – remain the purview of the parent who is with the kids at the time. Further, the parent who is most accessible at the time that an emergency decision must be made will be called upon to do so. 

Parenting Time Schedules

Your parenting time schedule refers to what many people think of as visitation, which boils down to when the kids stay at your home with you and when they stay at their other parent’s home with them. While parenting time schedules can vary considerably in terms of the specifics addressed, they can all be classified in one of the two following ways:

  • One of you becomes the parent with primary custody, and the children spend the majority of their overnights with this parent.
  • You and your ex split your time with your shared children more evenly.

If you need the court to weigh in on your parenting time schedule, you can expect a standard model, but if you and your children’s other parent are able to negotiate a schedule between yourselves, the sky’s the limit in terms of your scheduling options. 

When the court is called upon to order a parenting time schedule, it takes factors such as the following into careful account:

  • Each parent’s preference on the matter 
  • Each child’s preference on the matter (if deemed reasonable by the court to allow)
  • How well adjusted each of the children is to their current living situation, including their home, school, and community
  • Each parent and each child’s overall physical and mental health
  • Each parent’s past involvement in raising the children and ability to put the children’s needs first
  • Each parent’s commitment to fostering the children’s ongoing relationship with the other parent
  • How far away from one another the parents live
  • Whether domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect is a concern
  • Any other concerns that the court considers relevant to the case at hand

Child Support

Child Support in Greenwood Village is calculated according to the state’s guidelines, which generally leave very little wiggle room for variation. Although a wide range of factors go into the calculation process, the parent who has the higher income – regardless of how evenly you may divide your parenting time – is likely to have the child support obligation. In Greenwood Village, Colorado, child support is required until the child in question reaches the age of 19. If the child, however, has not yet graduated from high school – or its equivalent – at this point, child support will generally continue until the month after the child graduates. Child support, however, will not continue beyond the age of 21 (unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as special needs, involved).

The Equitable Distribution of Your Marital Property

Colorado is an equitable distribution state, which means that the assets and properties you come to own during the years of your marriage, which are identified as your marital property, will be divided between you equitably upon divorce. Equitably in this context can mean equally, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, equitably means fairly given the circumstances of your marriage and divorce, and the kinds of factors the court will take into careful consideration in making this fair determination include:

  • The length of your marriage
  • Each spouse’s income and any separate property owned by either of you 
  • Each spouse’s level of education
  • Each spouse’s earning potential and employability
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including in terms of childcare and homemaking
  • Each spouse’s ability to maintain a specific quality of life – in relation to themselves or their children
  • The sacrifices either spouse made in order to support the other’s education and career advancement
  • Any other factors deemed pertinent to the division of marital property by the court 

Separate property refers to those assets that either spouse brought into the marriage and kept separate throughout the years of marriage, which can be far more difficult to achieve than it sounds. In the end, it is generally quite easy for separate and marital assets to become commingled – thus negating the separate nature of those once separate assets. It’s important to also note that any increase in value that a separate asset experiences over the course of a marriage – such as with retirement accounts or real estate – is treated as a marital asset and will need to be distributed between you accordingly. 

The issues that tend to make the division of marital property that much more challenging include:

  • High assets
  • Business ownership
  • Complicated financial investments
  • unclear bookkeeping  

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is often called alimony, and it doesn’t play the primary role in divorce that it once did. Maintenance is reserved for those occasions when divorce leaves one spouse financially disadvantaged while the other has the financial ability to help offset the downturn. The factors considered by the court when determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate and, if so, its duration include:

  • The length of the marriage (with a minimum of three years generally imposed)
  • The distribution of property between the spouses in the divorce
  • The amount and duration of any temporary maintenance received while the divorce was pending
  • Each spouse’s age and overall health, including whether either has any significant healthcare needs or expenses that are uninsured or remain unreimbursed
  • Each spouse’s income, employability, and earning potential, including what they would be if the spouse in question engaged in the reasonable pursuit of additional education or job training
  • Whether either spouse contributed significantly to the other’s career success
  • Each spouse’s resources, including income and potential income from any separate property or assigned marital property
  • The payor’s financial ability to meet the financial needs of both spouses (given the circumstances)
  • The lifestyle the couple achieved while married
  • Whether either spouse’s current income is significantly higher or lower than it historically was over the course of the marriage)
  • Any other factors the court considers important to include

Colorado is one of the few states that employ a set calculation methodology when spousal maintenance is deemed appropriate. If so, the court first factors in whether either spouse pays or receives child support or spousal maintenance outside the current circumstances before plugging the relevant amounts into the set equation.

An Experienced Divorce Attorney in Greenwood Village Can Help 

Divorce is never easy, but Chris Little at CNL Law Firm, PLLC – proudly serving Greenwood Village, Colorado – is a dedicated divorce attorney who has the finely tuned experience and legal skills to help you pursue divorce terms that uphold your parental and financial rights while supporting your goals. Our capable legal team is well versed in guiding challenging cases like yours toward optimal outcomes, and we’re committed to also help you. Your case is important, so please don’t put off reaching out and contacting or calling us at (720) 370-2171 for more information today.

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