Clients involved in divorce or family law disputes in Colorado need professional support through times that are highly emotional, but require calm and reasoned decision-making. I provide legal representation and consultation in the following areas:
- Alimony, Maintenance and Spousal Support
- Child Custody, Parental Responsibility, and Parenting Time
- Child Relocation and Removal
- Child Support
- Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation and Annulment
- Marital Property
Alimony, Maintenance and Spousal Support:
In Colorado, the legal term “maintenance” has replaced “alimony” or “spousal support”. Maintenance is support paid by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse. The amount and duration of maintenance depends on various factors, including:
- The income and financial resources of each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The education levels of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
I can help you determine whether maintenance is an issue in your case, and if so, what amount and duration should be reasonable to pay or receive.
Child Custody, Parental Responsibility, and Parenting Time:
Colorado has replaced the terms “custody” and “visitation” with the term “allocation of parental responsibility”, which includes “decision-making authority” and “parenting time”. Decision-making authority and parenting time are determined by what is in a child’s “best interests”. While this may sound confusing, similar to custody, decision-making authority refers to who makes major decisions affecting the children, such as education, religious, extracurricular, and non-emergency medical decisions. Similar to visitation, a parent has parenting time when the children are in their care. Colorado courts require “parenting plans” that allocate both decision-making authority and parenting time to one or both parents. I can help you develop a parenting plan that meets your objectives and is in your children’s best interests.
Child Relocation and Removal:
Frequently, the parent with whom the children reside with a majority of the time seeks permission from the court to relocate with the children far enough away from the other parent so as to change the parenting time schedule. Over the past decade, the standard for “removal” cases, as they are called, has repeatedly changed, as the Colorado Legislature and the courts have tried to balance the rights of both parents and the best interest of the children. Three recent Colorado cases, In re Marriage of Ciesluk, Spahmer v. Gullette and In re Marriage of DeZalia have made significant changes to the standard by which a court will determine whether the children should relocate with the moving parent, and have established different legal standards for a parent wishing to move prior to an initial determination of parenting time and a parent wishing to move after the initial determination has been made. Therefore, it is more important than ever for a parent to understand his or her legal rights, responsibilities and options in this ever-changing area of law. My knowledge and experience in child relocation and removal law allows me to guide clients with competent advice and skilled representation in this difficult area.
Child support is generally, but not always received by the parent who resides with the children a majority of the time. In Colorado, child support is determined by a formula that considers the parents’ combined incomes, the number of overnights each parent spends with the child, a parent’s individual expenditures for child care, health insurance and other extraordinary expenses, as well as whether one parent is staying home with a child under the age of thirty months old. Additionally, a court may order more or less support than the guideline amount when its application would be inequitable, unjust or unfair. I can help you determine the amount of child support you may be required to pay or could receive.
Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation and Annulment:
Divorce, or in Colorado “dissolution of marriage”, is the legal process to end a marriage. I handle all issues relating to dissolution of marriage, legal separation and declaration of invalidity, which is often called an annulment.
In dividing marital property, Colorado is an “equitable division” state, which means that each spouse is awarded what is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Depending upon the type of marital assets involved, dividing a marital estate can become a complex process requiring the knowledge and expertise to examine and evaluate issues relating to business interests, investment portfolios, real estate holdings, retirement funds, stock options, tax consequences, debt and other real and personal property. I can help you determine and negotiate a reasonable marital property settlement or litigate your case if necessary.