Family Law Attorney Littleton

Because our families take precedence in our lives, family law is naturally a very important branch of the law. Family law tackles issues related to divorce, post-divorce modifications, child custody outside of divorce, prenuptial agreements, and well beyond. If you find yourself facing a family law concern, you are not alone – an experienced family law attorney in Littleton, Colorado, can help.

The Scope of Family Law Attorneys

We turn to family law for all the following legal matters:

  • Divorce, the terms of a divorce, post-divorce modifications, and child custody between parents who were never married
  • Parental relocations
  • Grandparent rights
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Guardianship and adoption
  • Domestic violence

All of these matters can impact your life in many ways, so you always want to have the right co family law lawyers throughout the family law process.

Divorce

While divorce is a primary element of family law matters, it is by no means the only concern. The terms of divorce – both within and outside divorce – are foundational to family law cases and include:

  • Parental responsibilities and parenting time or child custody cases
  • Child support
  • The division of marital property
  • Alimony or spousal support

prenup agreement

Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Colorado law addresses child custody in terms of parental responsibilities and parenting time – both of which are primary to parental rights.

Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities encompass what many people think of as legal custody – or the responsibility of making the big-picture decisions that determine your children’s upbringing. You and your ex can hammer out these decisions between yourselves, but one of you may be afforded the right to break a tie if – after exhaustive negotiations – you remain at odds on the matter. Other options include:

  • You and your ex can divide these important decisions between yourselves according to the category of decision that needs to be made.
  • One of you can be awarded sole parental responsibilities, which means that parent will make each of the foundational parenting decisions on his or her own.

The following are the kinds of decisions that are included in parental responsibilities:

  • Decisions about your children’s education
  • Plans about your children’s health care
  • Decisions about your children’s religious education
  • Plans about your children’s extracurricular participation and travel

Those decisions that we all face as parents on a day-to-day basis must be addressed by the parent who is there at the time. Finally, in emergency situations, the parent who is contacted first or who is on the scene is required to make any decisions that need to be made on the spot.

Parenting Time

Parenting time sets the schedule by which you and your children’s other parent will divide your time with your shared children. If you need the court’s guidance on the matter, you’re very likely to receive one of its standard parenting time schedules, but if you and your ex are able to come to a mutually acceptable agreement, you can create whatever schedule works for you. When it comes to parenting time schedules, they all fall into one of only two basic options, including:

  • Both parents share parenting time evenly or relatively evenly between themselves.
  • One parent has the children the majority of overnights, making him or her the primary custodial parent.

Child Support

Parents who do not together remain financially responsible for their children, and child support is the state’s tool for ensuring that this responsibility is balanced between both parents. Many different factors go into the state’s child support calculation process, but the primary issues tend to be how much time the kids spend with each parent and each parent’s income. The parent who is the higher earner is often the parent who has the child support obligation.

The Division of Marital Property

As a married couple, you very likely acquired assets, and these are considered marital property, which must be divided between you fairly upon the divorce process. The matter of what is fair is determined by examining a wide range of factors that include issues such as the length of your marriage, the contributions each of you made to your marital property overall, each spouse’s overall physical and mental health, and much more. Factors that tend to make the division of marital property even more challenging include:

  • Marriages involving high assets
  • Marriages involving business ownership
  • Marriages in which separate and marital assets are difficult to distinguish from one another
  • Marriages with generally complicated financials

Separate assets are those properties that either of you brought into the marriage with you. If you were able to maintain the separate nature of these assets, they will remain yours, but if not, they are likely to be included in the division of marital property.

separate property

Alimony (Spousal Maintenance)

Alimony – or spousal maintenance – is not a foregone conclusion in any family law case. Alimony is only awarded in those instances when one spouse is financially burdened by legal separation to the extent that they are unable to support themself and when the other spouse is able to provide financial assistance. While a spectrum of factors guides alimony decisions, alimony – when appropriate – is generally awarded only for an amount and duration that allows the recipient to gain greater financial independence through either further education or job training.

Parental Relocations

It is important to address the matter of parental relocations by considering the primary fact that the court cannot prevent colorado residents from moving out of CO state. If that parent, however, has primary custody of his or her children, the court can transfer custody to the parent who is remaining in Colorado – if this is determined to be in the best interests of the children involved, according to the Colorado Family Law.

In other words, making a move out of state as the primary custodial parent of the minor child should not be entered into lightly, and unless it is predicated on factors that increase your children’s opportunities and support their best interests, it is unlikely to be greenlighted by the family law court.

Grandparent Rights

If your grandchildren’s parents are no longer together, the State of Colorado will consider your request for visitation. While you have no specific legal right to see your grandchildren, the state recognizes how enriching the relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents can be for everyone involved. As such, the family law court will take your request for visitation into careful consideration – and will base its decision on the best interests of your grandchildren.

legal visitation for grandparents in colorado

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Colorado addresses what most people term prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as premarital and marital agreements, but the basics remain the same. These agreements amount to legal contracts that determine how certain divorce terms – or inheritance rights – will be addressed in the event of divorce (or one spouse’s death). Prenuptial agreements must be written prior to marriage, and they go into effect when the couple marries. Postnuptial agreements, however, are created and executed while the couple is married.

Prenups and postnups can address all the terms of divorce except the following:

  • Child custody
  • Child support (unless the terms included exceed the state’s obligation requirements)

Prenups are often implemented in second marriages when one party has a child from a previous relationship whose inheritance rights might be affected.

Guardianship and Adoption

Both guardianship and adoption address the matter of acting as a child’s parent, but the legal ramifications vary significantly. If you become a child’s guardian, you take on all the rights and responsibilities of his or her parent, but the connection is temporary in the sense that the child’s parents retain all the legal rights, including the right to terminate the guardianship (if done through the courts). When you adopt a child, however, you become his or her parent, with all the rights and responsibilities that go with this role. Adoption is a complicated legal process that can take considerable time and effort to achieve.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to any of the following when perpetrated by one intimate partner against another:

  • Violence, attempted violence, or the threat of violence
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Revenge
  • Coercion (forcing, threatening, or intimidating an intimate partner into either doing something they don’t want to do or into not doing something they have the right to do)

Intimate partners include current spouses, former spouses, couples who are currently in a romantic relationship, and couples who were formerly in a romantic relationship. Domestic violence can focus on the intimate partner, on a family member of the intimate partner (such as a child), on a pet of the intimate partner, or on property that belongs to the intimate partner. The charge of domestic violence does not stand alone but is, instead, used as an enhancement for the underlying charge of violence, whatever that may be. A common example is misdemeanor assault as an act of domestic violence.

An Experienced Family Law Attorney in Littleton Is on Your Side

Chris Little at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, in Littleton, Colorado, is a practiced family law attorney who is well prepared and well positioned to help you handle your family law concern head-on. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact or call us at (720) 370-2171 for more information today.

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