Divorce

Do Divorces Spike Over the Holidays?

Posted in Divorce on November 30, 2022

Every year, divorce attorneys and the family law courts tend to see a lull in divorce cases during the holidays – but it is always followed by a spike in divorce filings immediately after the new year. January is sometimes referred to as “Divorce Month” because of this phenomenon. This points to tension and problems that arise during the holidays and result in the couple calling it quits once the season for celebrating is over.

Why Are the Holidays Often the Breaking Point for Couples?

Lawyers tend to see a spike in divorce interest over the holidays, including more searches being performed on Google for information about divorce. Yet the actual petitions are being filed more often at the start of the new year – mainly, January through March. The post-holiday season is often busy for divorce courts due to couples that split up or decided to call it quits over the holidays but wait until the season is over to file. This points to the holidays being the breaking point for many married couples.

Experts attribute this to certain stressors that are present for many people around the holidays, such as:

  • Financial stress from purchasing gifts or traveling.
  • Stress related to planning and attending events.
  • Coordinating schedules, taking time off work and booking flights.
  • Family members visiting from out of town.
  • The children are home from school full-time.
  • Both spouses are at home together more often.
  • A perceived lack of emotional connection during the holidays.
  • Additional stress connected to COVID-19 and social distancing.
  • New Year’s resolutions and new personal goals.

An array of stress connected to the holidays can increase negative emotions around this time and ultimately result in the demise of a relationship. But the divorce rate tends to decrease during the period from the Jewish New Year in September through New Year’s Day, then spike afterward. Many couples who decide they want to get divorced over the holidays wait until they’re over to file the paperwork. Couples often do not want to spoil the holiday for their kids and families, or they may wait until they have returned home from holiday travel. Some couples simply wait in the hope that things will get better after the tensions of the holidays have subsided.

How to Handle Holiday Stress in Your Relationship

The holidays may lead to an influx in divorce petitions in the new year, but this does not mean dissolving your marriage is inevitable this holiday season. It may be possible to save your marriage and reconcile with your spouse, especially if you are prepared ahead of time for potential sources of stress that are associated with the holidays.

Do what you can to simplify your holidays if you and your spouse are already on unsteady ground. Opt to stay home rather than travel, for example, and limit the number of family members that visit you this year. Cut down on financial stress by using a spending cap or doing homemade gifts instead. The biggest key is to communicate. Talk openly with your spouse about your issues to improve the odds of making it through the holidays together. If times become hard, consider talking to a therapist to work through it together. 

Considering a Divorce This Holiday Season? Get Help From an Attorney

If your relationship problems are not just a seasonal trend, it may be time for a change. Filing for divorce immediately after the holidays may take more time, as law firms and courtrooms are often backed up due to an influx in divorce petitions being filed. You don’t have to wait, however, to start the process. Contact a divorce attorney near you to start discussing your case and the groundwork that is necessary to get divorced, such as gathering your financial records. You and your spouse can start organizing property division and parenting time schedules, as well, to make your divorce easier once your paperwork is processed.

What Evidence Is Admissible During a Colorado Family Law Case?

Posted in Divorce on November 30, 2022

Proving your side of a Colorado family law case requires clear and convincing evidence. It is important to know what evidence is admissible in court and what will be ruled inadmissible so that you don’t waste time collecting evidence that you cannot use – or that may even get you into legal trouble, such as secretly recording someone. Understanding Colorado’s evidence standards can allow you to build your case by knowing what can and cannot be used in court.

Colorado’s Rules of Evidence

What a family law court allows to be entered as evidence depends in large part on state law. The Colorado Rules of Evidence determine what is admissible as evidence during a family law case. These rules were created to promote fairness in the administration of justice. In general, relevant evidence is admissible, while irrelevant evidence is inadmissible. The law defines “relevant evidence” as any that can make the existence of a fact that is material to the case more probable or less probable than it would have been without the evidence.

In some scenarios, however, relevant evidence can be ruled inadmissible or barred from a case. If the value of a piece of evidence is substantially outweighed by a potential danger presented by the evidence – such as misleading the jury, confusing the issues, wasting time or resulting in unfair prejudices – it will be excluded. In Colorado, character evidence will also be excluded if its purpose is to prove conduct on a particular occasion, except in some criminal cases.

What Evidence Is and Is Not Admissible?

Colorado’s evidence laws are nuanced and lengthy. The best way to understand what types of evidence are and are not admissible during your family law case is by consulting with a knowledgeable attorney. A basic overview of what generally will and will not be admitted as evidence during a family law case can help you, in the meantime:

  • Statements by third parties: not admissible. Something that a third party said is known as “hearsay,” and typically will not be admitted by a judge. This includes statements made by a couple’s child during a family law case. Statements made by certain experts or family investigators, however, may be admissible.
  • Documents and paper records: admissible. Many types of documents are implicitly admissible in a family law case, such as any court documents filed and financial disclosure forms. However, letters written by a third party, police records without an officer present and expert reports without the expert present are generally inadmissible.
  • Secretly recorded conversations: not admissible. While it can be tempting to record your spouse in secret, this may not be the right way to build your family law case. In Colorado, you are allowed to secretly record a conversation that you are part of, but you cannot leave a recording device in a room where you are not present. Even if recording someone is legal,it could lead to potential drawbacks, such as a judge viewing this as bad conduct.
  • Emails, text messages and digital records: admissible. Most digital records are admissible, including photographs taken by one of the parties and emails and text messages sent. In these situations, the whole conversation should be provided rather than only part of the conversation.

Navigating Colorado’s rules of evidence is easier with assistance from an attorney. Your family law attorney can help you understand your rights and the legal issues surrounding your case, as well as give you advice about what evidence to collect. Your lawyer will help you construct a case and design a legal strategy based on the evidence and information that is available and will be admissible in court. For more information about gathering evidence for your family law case in Colorado, contact the Law Office of Stephen Vertucci.

Tips for Co-parenting Over the Holidays

Posted in Divorce on November 30, 2022

One of the most difficult aspects of divorced life is co-parenting over the holiday season. No parent wants to be apart from their children during the holidays, but this is often an inevitability when two parents are no longer together. Luckily, there are tools that you can use to make co-parenting over the holidays easier and less stressful for everyone – allowing you to bring back the joy of the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

Planning your holiday custody schedule ahead of time can save a great deal of anxiety later. Do not wait until the last minute to decide what the holidays will look like for your family. If you are already divorced and have a parenting plan, review your custody arrangement with your ex-spouse so you are both on the same page about who has the kids and when. This will save you (and your children) from dealing with last-minute changes, stress and disputes over where they will spend each day.

If you are at the stage where you need to map out a parenting plan for a divorce settlement, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want directly. Keep in mind, however, that a parenting plan is a negotiation that requires give and take – both you and your ex-spouse need to compromise to achieve a collaborative divorce process. For example, if a certain holiday is important to you, consider giving up another holiday to your ex to keep things fair. You may also want to consider alternating years.

Consider Sharing the Holiday Together

If you are on good terms with your co-parent, consider spending the holidays with your kids together. Although this is not an option for every family, it can make things easier for both parents if it is a possibility, as neither will have to give up a holiday with the kids. If you go this route, make sure you can be amicable and friendly with your co-parent so that you don’t fight or create tension around the holidays for your children.

Communicate With Your Co-parent

If you are dividing parenting time with your co-parent over the holidays, such as having the kids for Christmas morning and sending them to your ex’s house for Christmas night, communication is critical. The only way that you will get through the holiday season with a shared custody schedule is with open and polite communication with your ex-spouse

Do your best to remain civil and coolheaded during conversations. If there are any disputes about the holiday schedule, go back to your custody arrangement and use this as a basis for what the holidays should look like. Anticipate issues and come up with creative ways to resolve them. Coordinate gifts and holiday experiences with your co-parent to avoid any surprises or conflicts. Be as flexible as possible without sacrificing your parental rights.

Prioritize the Kids

If your children are old enough to make mature decisions for themselves, consider involving them in the process of planning your two-household holiday season. Ask them what they want and how they would like to spend each holiday. Then, do your best to accommodate their wishes by coordinating with your co-parent. While there is no guarantee that the kids can have the schedule they want, including them in the conversation can give everyone a chance to be heard. Remember to always prioritize both you and your child’s mental health, especially when times are busy.

Make New Holiday Traditions

Most of all, remember that the holidays after a divorce or legal separation will look different, and that’s okay. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be to enjoy your holidays in a new way. Rather than lamenting over what holidays used to look like, make new traditions that you and your kids can look forward to. If your spouse gets the kids on the actual day of a holiday, for example, make a fun tradition for the weekend after. This will give you and your kids something special to do together each year.

Dealing With Emotional Abuse During a Custody Battle

Posted in Divorce on October 31, 2022

Escaping an emotionally abusive relationship by getting divorced is complicated if you and your ex-spouse have a child together. Although the courts in Colorado generally try to maintain continuing contact between a child and both parents after a divorce, there are exceptions if the child’s well-being or best interests are at risk, including if one parent is emotionally abusive. Proving emotional abuse can be difficult during a custody battle.

How Do the Courts View Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is in the same field as physical abuse when it comes to a child custody case. The courts look at both as threats that put a child at risk of harm. Emotional abuse such as scare tactics, efforts to control or isolate a victim, using fear or intimidation, emotional manipulation, and beratement or humiliation can have a detrimental effect on a child. A child who is exposed to emotional abuse can suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem, attachment problems and other long-term effects. 

If it can be proven that one parent is emotionally abusive, that parent will receive fewer custodial rights than the non-abusive parent. This does not mean that the other parent will receive no custody or visitation rights, however. The courts will create a custody arrangement based on what is in the best interests of the child. Typically, this means frequent and continuing contact with both parents to maintain meaningful relationships, but if a joint custody arrangement is not safe for a child due to emotional abuse, the courts may award sole custody to the non-abusive parent.

Proving Emotional Abuse in a Child Custody Case

If you wish to protect your child from emotional abuse at the hands of your ex-spouse in a divorce case, you or your child custody attorney must prove that your child’s health or well-being could be at risk when in the care of your ex-spouse. While emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse, it is more difficult to prove. There is often no physical proof of emotional abuse, such as bruising or injuries. Instead, proving emotional abuse may require:

  • Texts, messages or emails
  • Character witnesses
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Photographs
  • Video recordings
  • Medical or psychiatric records
  • Information from the child’s school or teachers
  • Police or incident reports
  • Allegations of domestic violence
  • Parent psychological evaluation

To help you prove emotional abuse during a custody battle in Colorado, keep a journal. Write down every incident of emotional, mental or verbal abuse – document the exact time, date, place and circumstances. Include any supporting evidence, such as recordings, when possible. Then, ask for a mental health study or psychological evaluation during your custody case. A mental health expert will talk to your ex-spouse and your child to search for signs of emotional abuse. 

How to Protect Your Child From an Abusive Parent

A custody decision is given to a judge in Colorado if the parents cannot agree on their own parenting plan. If your custody battle involves emotional abuse by your ex, contact an attorney to help you build a case for primary or sole custody. In the meantime, focus on the well-being of your child. Divorce is hard on any child but is made worse when a situation involves emotional abuse from a parent.

Try to keep your child’s life as stable and consistent as possible. Stick to the same schedule your child had before the split. Consider taking your child to therapy so that he or she can discuss feelings, emotions, fears and the future with a professional. Do your best to avoid confrontation with your ex-spouse; use an attorney to communicate with the other side of your divorce case while you fight for custody. For more information about a custody case involving emotional abuse, speak to an attorney in Fort Collins.

5 Helpful Tips to Protect Yourself When Your Spouse Files for Divorce

Posted in Divorce on October 31, 2022

When you get married, you never imagine that your relationship will one day end in divorce. If it is time to dissolve your marriage, however, it is important to think ahead so that you can protect yourself. There are things that you can do from the early stages of your divorce to protect yourself legally and financially. If you can, use these suggestions to safeguard your interests after your spouse files for divorce in Colorado.

Stay in the Family Home

If you have children, staying in the family home can have an important impact on child custody. If you move out too soon, a judge may believe that it is better for a child’s stability to spend most of his or her time in the home that the child is used to. If staying in the family home isn’t an option, find accommodations that have room for your children. Try to remain in the same neighborhood or community to prevent long distance from getting in the way of a joint custody agreement.

Staying in the family home after your spouse has filed for divorce can lead to tensions running high. Do your best to minimize friction by staying in your own space within the home. If you need to have a discussion or confrontation with your spouse, do it away from the kids and with a third party present to help facilitate civil communications. Do not allow your spouse to take the kids away from the house. Call the police if you get into any domestic violence situations while still living with your spouse.

Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Hire a divorce lawyer in Colorado as soon as you find out that your spouse has filed for divorce. Retaining a lawyer early can protect your rights during important decisions such as child custody, child support, property division and alimony. Your lawyer can give you advice about what to say and what not to say – such as not posting on social media or badmouthing your ex in front of the kids.

Your lawyer can also help you respond to the divorce petition properly. Your lawyer can walk you through the paperwork involved in a Colorado divorce case and make sure you don’t sign away your rights. Then, your lawyer can negotiate or mediate with your ex-spouse on your behalf to fight for your desired outcome and increase the odds of reaching a settlement. This can save you time, money and stress. It is especially important to hire a lawyer if your divorce has complicated elements, such as children or high-value assets.

Build Your Own Finances

One of the most complex aspects of a divorce is the couple’s finances. Separating your finances after years of blending them can be difficult. Start by canceling any jointly-owned credit cards. This can prevent your spouse from racking up your shared debt. If you don’t already have one, set up your own bank account. Anticipate what your financial situation will look like post-divorce to start planning for your future. If necessary, seek employment or go back to school to set yourself up for financial independence.

Start Gathering Documents and Evidence

You can make your divorce smoother and easier by gathering together the records, documents and paperwork that will be relevant to your case. Make copies of important documents, such as financial records, tax returns, income and wage statements, bank statements, insurance policies, titles, and real estate documents. Safeguard your personal papers and start making a record of all of your marital property.  Make sure you are prepared  for court, in this case it may be especially helpful to hire a lawyer. 

Don’t Sign Anything

Many people going through a divorce make the mistake of signing papers sent to them by their ex-spouse or ex’s attorney. Signing a preliminary agreement, however, can result in losing property and custody battles later. It is not always possible to change your mind or renegotiate after signing an agreement. Bring any paperwork sent to you about your divorce to a lawyer for review before signing on the dotted line. 

How to Manage Your Child’s Mental Health During a Divorce

Posted in Divorce on October 31, 2022

Getting divorced as a parent means dealing with the struggles and emotional toll of a breakup while also trying to protect your child. The potential psychological impact of a divorce on children – especially young children – is well-known, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope for your child’s mental health. There are things you can do to protect your child’s well-being and foster a healthy mental state despite your divorce.

Put Your Child First

Divorce is hard on everyone, but it is important to remember that your child is going through the breakup of his or her family. Your actions can make things better or worse for your child during this time. You have the power to protect your child from stress, anxiety and depression with the things that you say and do. If you can, try to follow these suggestions:

  • Fight privately. Try to get along with your ex when you have to, especially around the kids. Leave any arguments, confrontations or divorce negotiations to times when you aren’t around your child. Make use of a mediator or divorce lawyer to help you communicate with your ex in a civil way.
  • Don’t badmouth your spouse. A lot of mental health struggles for children during divorce stem from pressure from one parent to choose sides or ostracize the other parent. A child’s guilt or fear of disappointing one parent in the divorce can lead to anxiety. Prevent this by keeping your opinions about your ex to yourself. Don’t badmouth your ex in front of your child or make your child feel like he or she has to take a side. 
  • Respect the relationship between your child and the other parent. Don’t guilt trip your child for wanting to spend time with your ex. Don’t compare your relationship with your child to your ex’s relationship. It is generally in a child’s best interest to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents post-divorce. Don’t get in the way of this because of your own bad relationship with your co-parent.

No matter how strongly you feel about your ex-spouse, he or she is still your child’s parent. Keep this in mind and do everything you can to put your child first during your divorce and afterward. Emotions can run high during a divorce case, but keeping your own opinions and struggles from affecting your child should be your number one priority.

Find Stability

Stability is a major factor in maintaining a child’s mental health during a divorce. Parents splitting up is a major life change for a child. Parents can bring some peace and balance to this tumultuous time by keeping the rest of the child’s life as stable and consistent as possible. If you can, keep your child on the same schedule that he or she had before the divorce as much as possible. Maintaining a normal, structured routine can help your child adjust with less anxiety. 

Communicate Openly

Signs that your child is struggling with the divorce can include sudden academic problems, outbursts or behavioral issues, withdrawal from others, less socializing with friends, lower self-esteem, and symptoms of depression or anxiety. If you notice any possible mental health problems, take the time to address them. Communicate openly and honestly with your child about what is going on. Let your child know that anything that he or she is feeling is okay and valid.

Offer the idea of counseling or therapy if your child needs help coping with the divorce. Seeing a professional can help your child find healthy coping mechanisms and look toward the future with optimism instead of dread. Consider family counseling with your ex-spouse and child, as well, so that you can all work together to do what is best for your child’s well-being and mental state. Addressing negative feelings can help alleviate your child’s stress and promote wellness during this difficult time.

5 Tips for Mental Health Struggles During a Divorce

Posted in Divorce on September 30, 2022

Going through a divorce is not easy for anyone. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, disappointed or anything else that you feel. Your feelings are valid and normal. You do not have to cope with your struggles or the emotional toll that a divorce takes on you alone. Reach out for help. Connect with a therapist, friend or support group – and use these tips to address your mental health struggles more effectively during a divorce.

Recognize What You’re Feeling

Many negative emotions will likely come up during a divorce. A divorce is often referred to as the “death of love.” As such, it is normal to go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The most important part is recognizing these emotions when they arise. This will allow you to address them and cope with them in a healthy, positive way. 

Feeling negative emotions is normal and to be expected during a divorce. You may feel scared about your future, grief over the end of your significant relationship, anger and frustration with your spouse, loneliness, and many other emotions. They can make you feel uncomfortable or out of control of your life. Recognizing your feelings and taking the time to process them can help you feel more grounded and prepared to move forward. 

Learn How to Manage Negative Emotions

The volatile emotions that are often associated with divorce can make the process more difficult even under the best of circumstances. Once you have learned how to recognize your negative feelings, learn how to manage them. For example, you should allow grief to occur. This is a natural reaction to the loss of your relationship. Your grieving process may involve shock, numbness, depression, denial and many other feelings. You may not be able to prevent or “fix” grief. Over time, however, your grief will start to become irrelevant to your daily life – allowing you to heal.

Get Professional Help 

You may be able to cope with some mental health struggles on your own, such as by surrounding yourself with people who make you feel loved and supported. However, never hesitate to get professional help if you are dealing with strong negative feelings, thoughts and emotions. If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, seek help from a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. Many professionals specialize in divorce and can provide tools you can use to cope with your emotions and find a better place mentally. This may include the use of prescription medications to help alleviate severe symptoms of mental health disorders.

Choose to Focus on the Future

You have every right to grieve what you have lost and to feel many negative emotions during a divorce. Yet, at a certain point, you should be ready to move on with your life. This may require a conscious choice or effort on your part to focus on your future rather than the past. As you begin to overcome the grieving process, you will have more energy to dedicate to building the future that you want. Picture where you want to be and take actionable steps toward achieving your goals. Choose to see the end of your relationship as the beginning of your new life.

Have a Positive Mental Attitude

Remember that your divorce will not last forever, and that you are not only a product of your past. You have the power to shape your future – and you can do so with a positive mental attitude. Trust that good things are coming your way. In the meantime, surround yourself with people who support you, make you laugh and give off positive energy. This can help you combat feelings of loneliness and stress. Self-care such as listening to music, eating healthy meals, getting fresh air and exercise, and watching funny or inspirational movies can also help you take control of your mental health during a divorce.

The Relationship Between Marriage and Mortality

Posted in Divorce on September 30, 2022

Several studies have drawn conclusions about whether or not married people live longer than unmarried people. These studies have looked at the implications of marriage on an individual’s overall health, lifestyle and living arrangements. They examine additional factors, as well, such as the age of the couple at the time of marriage. Overall, the conclusion is that married individuals generally report greater health and a lower mortality risk than their unmarried counterparts.

Does Being Married Help You Live Longer?

According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics, married people tend to report lower mortality rates than unmarried individuals. However, researchers in this study drew no conclusions as to whether this statistic was attributable to selectivity when entering the marriage (based on the hypothesis that healthier people are more likely to get married) or that the marriage itself has health benefits that decrease the mortality rate.

The study looked at trends from 2010 to 2017 in age-adjusted death rates by marital status at the time of death. It found that the death rate was highest for widowed individuals among individuals that were married, never married, divorced or widowed. The age-adjusted death rate for widowed individuals increased by 6 percent during the research period, while the rate for those who were never married declined by 2 percent and the rate for married men declined by 7 percent.

The lowest death rate of all marital status groups was married women, at a rate of 569.3 per 100,000 U.S. standard population as of 2017. Death rates for married men were the lowest for all men involved in the study, at a rate of 942.9. Widowed men had the highest death rate in the study, at 2,238.7. This death rate has remained essentially the same since 2010. The death rate for divorced men was also relatively high, at 1,772.7.

What Is the Reason for the Relationship Between Marriage and Mortality?

It would appear based on this research that overall health and mortality rates are better for married persons compared to unmarried persons – particularly, for men. Subsequent research has attempted to determine if this trend is due to marriage selection (where healthier individuals are more likely to get married) or lifestyle arrangements during marriage, with no concrete conclusions. Some researchers have speculated as to why married persons may be healthier and live longer, with suggestions such as:

  • Positive spousal behaviors
  • Improved quality and enjoyment of life
  • Greater wealth (a socio-economic advantage)
  • Better health care and insurance
  • Modified health behaviors
  • Social networking

Whether or not marriage provides “protection” against health issues and mortality remains to be seen, as researchers have found evidence to confirm both theories. A consistent finding, however, is evidence of poorer health in divorced and single men compared to married men, as well as a gender disparity between single men vs. single women. It should be noted, however, that health and mortality rates also changed based on the stability and quality of the marriage. These findings have led to questions that are yet to be answered regarding whether marriage has a positive impact – especially on male health.

Divorce Stress and Mortality Rates

Researchers have also analyzed a connection between the divorce process itself and higher mortality rates. They found that the transition from being married to unmarried may have an adverse impact on an individual’s health. This may be due to temporary changes in the person’s lifestyle, such as increased stress and diet or exercise changes that can cause a temporary health decline around the time of the divorce. 

Get Help From a Divorce Attorney in Fort Collins

If you are considering getting divorced in Colorado, make the process as efficient and stress-free as possible with assistance from a divorce lawyer at The Law Office of Stephen Vertucci, LLC. Stephen is a highly experienced divorce attorney who will protect your rights and interests throughout the divorce process. Our law firm will handle your divorce case from start to finish for better overall results and a more positive legal experience.

Colorado Divorce Statistics

Posted in Colorado Laws,Divorce on September 30, 2022

Whether or not a couple gets divorced has to do with much more than where they live – yet, statistically, researchers have found that certain states consistently have higher divorce rates than others. The annual number of divorce filings is higher in some states every year. Tracking the divorce rate in your state may give you more information about whether marriages last…and if not, why the divorce rate might be so high where you live.

Is it True That 50 Percent of All Marriages End in Divorce?

While the commonly quoted statistic “50 percent of marriages end in divorce” might have been accurate at one point, the actual percentage has slowly been on the decline. According to marriage and divorce data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national marriage rate in 2020 was 5.1 per 1,000 population – the lowest it has been in over 20 years. The divorce rate was also low at 2.3 per 1,000 total population. In 2020, 1,676,911 marriages were recorded and 630,505 divorces were finalized. This equates to about 37.5 percent of marriages ending in divorce – not 50 percent.

How Common Is Divorce in Colorado?

Although it remains unclear whether there is a link between geography and divorce, statistics track which states have the highest divorce rates year by year. Many states consistently have a higher number of divorces and annulments compared to their neighbors. A summary of statewide divorce rates from 2019 to 2020 by the National Center for Health Statistics named the following as the top 10 states for divorce (along with divorce rates calculated per 1,000 population):

  • Wyoming: 3.8
  • Alabama: 3.7
  • Arkansas: 3.6
  • Oklahoma: 3.5
  • Idaho: 3.4
  • Utah: 3.3
  • Mississippi: 3.3
  • Tennessee: 3.2
  • Alaska: 3.2
  • West Virginia: 3.1

All of these states have higher divorce rates than the national average. Colorado was number 14 on the list, with a divorce rate of 2.9 per 1,000 population in 2020. The state with the lowest divorce rate in 2020 was Massachusetts (1.0). However, this data excludes the rates for California, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota and New Mexico. 

Why Do So Many Couples Get Divorced in Colorado?

Colorado might not have made the top 10 states for divorce, but it is one of the higher-ranking states in the country for marriages that don’t last. The statistics that track divorce rates are intriguing, but they do not delve into the reasons for divorce. Couples may choose to dissolve their marriages for many different reasons in Colorado, including:

  • Financial problems
  • Unemployment
  • Stressors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Stress connected to work-life balance
  • Trouble communicating
  • Divorced parents
  • Previous marriages
  • Having more than three children
  • Age difference between the spouses
  • Age at the time of the marriage

As for location, certain states may have a lower quality of living or more opportunities for stress – both of which could contribute to divorce. Examples include a low minimum wage, high poverty levels, economic struggles and inclement weather. These issues can result in higher rates of depression, unemployment and overall stress in those states that can increase the odds of divorce.

Considering a Divorce in Colorado? Get Help.

If you are one of many people seeking a divorce in Colorado this year, don’t go through the legal process alone. A divorce attorney can help you navigate Colorado’s divorce laws and protect your rights. It is especially important to hire an attorney if your divorce has complications, such as children, high-value assets or a military service member. In these situations, a divorce lawyer can make sure your voice is heard and your best interest is protected. 

You can trust your attorney to fight for the best possible outcome for your divorce case. Your lawyer will also ensure an effective divorce process that minimizes the emotional toll on the whole family. Although no one really “wins” in a divorce case, a lawyer will improve your chances of getting the case outcome that you want. This can allow you to move forward with your new life with greater hope for the future. For more information about getting divorced in Fort Collins, Colorado, contact The Law Office of Stephen Vertucci, LLC.

Colorado Divorce Laws

Posted in Divorce on September 30, 2022

Dissolving your marriage in Colorado requires a specific set of steps and procedures. You must have a firm understanding of the state’s divorce laws and how to navigate them to successfully end your marriage. A divorce lawyer in Fort Collins can help you with all of the laws connected to your divorce case and protect your rights along the way. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of some of the most important divorce laws to know.

No-Fault Divorce

Colorado does not require an individual to prove that his or her spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage to get divorced. In the past, fault divorce laws were common. They required the filing party to prove accepted grounds for the divorce, such as adultery, fraud or insanity. Today, however, couples in Colorado do not have to prove fault to get divorced.

When filing for a divorce, you can cite “irreconcilable differences” or that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” as the cause for the dissolution. You do not have to prove that this is so; the courts will accept this reason without requiring evidence, even if your spouse doesn’t agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. You can dissolve your marriage even if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers.

Residency Requirement

Before you can file for divorce in Colorado, you must prove that you or your spouse has been a resident of Colorado for at least the past 91 days. Only then will the State of Colorado have jurisdiction over your case. If you and your spouse share children, the children must have resided in Colorado for at least 181 days prior to filing. However, there are special exceptions for active military members who are stationed in Colorado.

Waiting Period

In addition to the 91-day residency requirement, Colorado has a mandatory waiting period of the same duration. After you file for divorce, you and your spouse must wait at least 91 days before the courts will finalize the paperwork and make your dissolution of marriage official. This waiting period allows a couple to have time to work through marital issues, such as planning property division or creating a parenting plan. This can make the divorce process easier and decrease the odds of a divorce trial. It could also give a couple time to reconcile before rushing into a divorce.

Equitable Property Distribution 

All couples in Colorado have a chance to divide their marital property and debts before a case is handed to the courts. If the couple cannot agree on how to divide their property, the courts will use an equitable property distribution rule. This arrangement divides all of the assets and debts acquired during a marriage in a way that is equitable, or fair. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The courts will not divide separate property, or property owned by each party before the divorce.

Child Custody and Support Laws

Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interest of the child. Neither the father nor the mother receives preferential treatment when it comes to child custody arrangements. If the couple cannot work out a parenting plan on their own, the courts will arrange custody according to what will best protect the child’s physical, mental and psychological well-being. 

Child support is awarded based on the finances of the couple, such as which spouse earns more, combined with the custody arrangement. Typically, the noncustodial parent will be made to pay the parent with primary custody an amount in child support to pay his or her share of the child’s care.

If you are considering getting divorced in Colorado, contact The Law Office of Stephen Vertucci, LLC to request an initial consultation. Our divorce attorneys can help you understand and navigate all of Colorado’s divorce laws.