What to Know About Property Division in Colorado

Posted in Divorce on May 31, 2023

No one walks down the aisle expecting the journey to end in divorce court, but when a divorce becomes inevitable, spouses in Colorado begin considering how they will divide their assets and debts when they go their separate ways. Besides child custody matters, the division of assets and debts in Colorado divorces is the most frequently contentious issue between spouses.

Colorado is an “equitable division” state, meaning marital assets don’t have to be divided exactly 50/50, but allocated in a way that a judge agrees is fair and equitable for both and doesn’t leave one spouse facing undue hardship.

Separate vs. Marital Assets

Before you and your spouse file for divorce or begin the mediation process, it helps to fully understand what a judge will consider as separate assets vs. marital assets. Separate assets are those acquired by individuals before their marriage and that remained separate, while marital assets are those acquired during the marriage by both spouses together, or by each spouse individually. Examples of marital assets include:

  • The marital home(s)
  • Cars
  • Furniture, devices, and appliances
  • Artwork, collectibles, and antiques
  • Vacation properties
  • Rental property
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • RVs, campers, and motorcycles

Only gifts and individual inheritances remain separate property even if gained during a marriage. Further, some separate property owned by a spouse before marriage could become marital property if the other spouse invests significant money and/or time into it or makes improvements. Also, a separate account belonging to only one party before the marriage can become marital property if the other spouse had access to the account throughout the marriage, if their name was added to the account, or if they contributed to it.

Any property acquired after a divorcing couple separates is considered separate property.

Negotiating a Divorce Settlement in Colorado

Divorcing spouses in Colorado have the option of negotiating their own settlement, dividing their marital assets in a way that satisfies both of them, with or without attending professional mediation. In that case, a judge is likely to sign off on the agreement as long as it isn’t grossly unfair to one spouse or the judge suspects it was signed under duress. If divorcing spouses can’t or won’t come to their own settlement agreement, the judge will divide their marital assets after a period of full financial disclosure by both parties and a discovery period by the attorneys for both spouses.

Only separate property and assets excluded from becoming marital property by a prenuptial agreement aren’t subject to division during a divorce in Colorado.

Debts are Part of Property Division in Colorado

Like assets, debts are also divided during a divorce if the debts were acquired during the marriage. Even if only one spouse acquired a debt and only their name is on the account, it’s still subject to division during a divorce. After a judge divides debts, it’s important to check all accounts allotted to the other spouse to ensure that your name is no longer listed as a debtor on the account.

Fort Collins Property Divisions Lawyer

Property Division and Spousal Maintenance

When divorcing spouses negotiate their own equitable division of marital assets in Colorado, it’s important to consider the way the division could impact spousal maintenance in the case. A judge considers the assets allocated during the division of marital property to the spouse seeking maintenance as financial resources and takes these resources into account before deciding on an amount.

If you have questions about property division in your divorce, your divorce lawyer can help. Set up a consultation today. 

How to Cope With Divorce Stigma

Posted in Divorce on May 31, 2023

We might be currently living in the 21st century and no one is forced to wear a scarlet letter, but for many divorced spouses, living with the after-effects of a divorce can still feel shameful. Surprisingly, even in today’s world of staggering divorce statistics, as many as 1 in 10 divorced spouses state that they remained in an unhappy marriage even when they knew their relationship was over just to avoid the stigma of divorce. When an individual divorces for the second time, they face even greater feelings of chagrin and perceived stigma.

Marriage is an investment in the future, with emotions, finances, family, and home all entwined into one commitment. When plans for the future fall through for whatever the cause, feelings of failure and embarrassment can become overwhelming. So, how do divorcing individuals cope with the distress of divorce stigma?

When Is a Divorce the Right Decision?

There are many reasons to divorce. In the past, most states had a fault-based divorce system requiring spouses to cite a reason for the dissolution of the marriage, such as a cheating spouse, cruelty, or abandonment. In today’s world, the overwhelming majority of states have adopted a no-fault divorce system that only requires spouses to claim “irreconcilable differences” or a marriage that is “irretrievably broken.” While some find this a sign of the shredding of the country’s moral fiber, the fact is that an irretrievably broken marriage has always been the true reason for divorce, even if it manifests in adultery or abandonment.

According to relationship experts, divorce may be the right decision when:

  • You’re living in a loveless partnership
  • You’ve been unhappy for a long period of time
  • Trust is gone
  • You’ve grown apart and no longer feel like partners
  • If you’ve been the victim of spousal abuse
  • If your relationship with your spouse is a source of depression or anxiety instead of joy and love

Only you know what happens within your own marriage, but when a relationship devolves to the point that you must end it in order to save your own physical or emotional well-being, then divorce is the right decision and not one that should cause shame or the perception of stigma.

Fort Collins Divorce Attorney

Dealing With Divorce Stigma

Some people feel free, energized, and optimistic after a divorce, but others may be plagued with feelings of failure and shame that they then perceive to be the way others see them. While it’s true that a minority of people in your life may not be able to leave their judgments and preconceptions about your divorce behind, the overwhelming majority of people report that they find it brave when a friend, family member, or acquaintance files for divorce and chooses to begin a fresh new life. 

If you feel like you’re dealing with divorce stigma, ask yourself if you might be applying your own feelings about the divorce to others who may actually be very supportive of your decision and might even admire your bravery.

Relationship experts recommend that those who feel stigmatized by divorce do the following:

  • Focus on making it a time for positive change
  • Take the opportunity to make a fresh start
  • Think of your divorce as a beginning instead of an ending
  • Channel your new freedom into furthering your career, education, physical fitness, travel, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, learning a new language, or taking up a new hobby
  • Join a support group for the newly divorced
  • Treat yourself to a solo vacation to a destination you’ve always dreamed of

By looking ahead to a time when you’ll have new self-confidence, a new sense of independence, and individual achievement you can be proud of, you can see yourself as the hero/heroine of your own story and turn stigma into esteem. If you have any questions about your divorce or need advice, set up a consultation today!

How Domestic Abuse Effects Divorce in Colorado

Posted in Divorce on May 31, 2023

Divorce is a distressing process even under the best of circumstances, but for a victim of domestic abuse, facing the possibility of violent repercussions from an abusive spouse can make divorce terrifying. While we’d prefer to think of domestic violence as rare in the state sometimes called the “Switzerland of the United States,” in 2021 alone, 91 victims of domestic violence died in Colorado. 

Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, but that doesn’t mean that domestic abuse within a marriage doesn’t impact divorce. Types of domestic abuse include physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse (controlling a spouse’s finances to prevent them from gaining independence). 

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, it helps to know exactly how your situation could impact your divorce.

What is Domestic Violence in Colorado?

Colorado criminal courts define domestic violence as any act or threat of an act of violence from one person to another when both parties are domestically involved or in an intimate relationship. Domestic involvement in crimes of abuse mean any of the following intimate relationships:

  • Current or formerly married couples
  • Current or formerly dating couples
  • Co-parents to children, whether biological or adopted

The police are required to arrest any person suspected of domestic violence. “Domestic violence” isn’t a separate crime from assault, but instead, law enforcement in Colorado treats it as a sentencing enhancement and aggravating factor for the crime of assault. The most common crime enhancements associated with domestic violence between those in an intimate relationship include:

  • Assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Violation of a restraining order
  • False imprisonment

Though unrelated to divorce or domestic violence between those in an intimate relationship, domestic violence enhancements are also sometimes applied to assaults between siblings or in cases of elder abuse.

Domestic Abuse and Divorce in Colorado

When domestic abuse is part of a divorce case, it has a significant impact on the way the case proceeds, despite Colorado’s no-fault divorce law. Because it’s mandatory for police to make an arrest in any suspected domestic violence case, when a spouse alleges abuse in a divorce case, it triggers an arrest and a restraining order against the abuser. The restraining order is a mandatory protection order prohibiting the alleged abuser from making contact with the victim. In Colorado, this order also prohibits alcohol use. Violation of the order is a crime punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.

A conviction for assault with a domestic violence enhancement impacts the following in a divorce in Colorado:

  • Child custody (while the state believes a sustained relationship with both parents is in a child’s best interests, if a parent can’t provide an environment free from abuse they may lose custody and gain only supervised visitation
  • Contact with the victim remains prohibited as long as the protective order is in place which may be temporary or permanent
  • Courts may favor a victim of domestic violence when deciding on matters of asset division in a divorce
  • The courts may award a victim of abuse with a greater amount of spousal support based on the fact that abusers typically deny their victim financial independence

Fort Collins Divorce Attorney

While all divorcing spouses should choose an experienced attorney to represent their best interests, it’s more critical than ever when domestic abuse is a factor. Please contact us today if you are in need of an experienced lawyer to represent you through these hard times. 

What to Avoid in a High-Asset Divorce

Posted in Divorce on May 31, 2023

Divorce is a distressing process whether spouses rented an apartment and lived paycheck to paycheck or whether they’re wealthy and have decades of combined assets, but for spouses with many assets, untangling the financial aspects of the divorce can add a new layer of distress as well as lengthier negotiations and a far more complex settlement agreement or court resolution. A high-asset divorce is more likely to become a contested divorce and will take much longer to resolve than a divorce for spouses with an average portfolio of assets obtained during the marriage. Though a high-asset divorce may take substantially longer to complete compared to an average divorce, it pays to be patient, since rushing could cause you to lose important assets that you could have retained. 

While trying to rush the process is a common mistake, it’s helpful to understand other potential pitfalls and know what to avoid in a high-asset divorce in Colorado.

Avoid Hiding, Selling, or Disposing of Assets in A Divorce

While it may be tempting to squirrel away your favorite pieces of art or transfer an account overseas, it’s crucial to avoid any attempts to hide, sell, or dispose of marital assets before the court orders you to divulge them during the discovery period. Any attempt to hide assets is considered contempt of court and the judge may respond by making you pay your spouse’s legal fees or order higher alimony payments. In some serious attempts to hide or liquidate assets before a divorce agreement, a judge may file criminal charges for financial fraud.

Not Undergoing Mediation to Make Your Own Settlement

Only you and your spouse know what assets have sentimental or emotional value to each other as well as monetary value. No impartial judge could ever divide marital assets in a way that’s as mutually agreeable as the spouses could themselves. It’s a dreadful mistake to avoid mediation and an attempt to create your own fair settlement agreement and instead rely solely on a judge to decide who gets your great-grandmother’s china.

In mediation, you and your spouse have a safe space to negotiate terms. For instance, you could trade a rental property for the beach condo you want to keep or a car your spouse wants for the home furnishings you want to keep. You could also choose to buy out the other’s half in assets you desire or sell and divide the profits for assets neither party wishes to keep.

Mediation can also help you to fairly negotiate shared parenting time or child visitation arrangements, as well as spousal support.

A settlement agreement you and your spouse create on your own is far more likely to be mutually satisfactory and a judge is likely to sign off on it unless it’s grossly unfair to one party.

Failing to Investigate Your Spouse’s Assets

While avoiding contention in a divorce is always favorable, it’s important to avoid going too far in the other direction and trusting your spouse to be completely upfront about divulging their assets. Divorce is a painful process and even a spouse who seems uncontentious could potentially hide assets or income. Sadly, it’s human nature to want to protect your own best interests when you feel they might be threatened.

Ignoring the Tax Impacts of Your Divorce Settlement

Any divorce has impacts on each spouse’s tax filings, but especially a high-asset divorce. You could see substantial changes in your tax situation based on what assets you’ve lost and which ones you’ve kept or gained. During a high-asset divorce, it’s important to have a potential asset division agreement checked over by your accountant, tax specialist, or financial planner before you submit it to the judge.

Fort Collins Divorce Attorney

Using an Under-Experienced Divorce Attorney

A high-asset divorce requires far more investigation and negotiation compared to an average divorce. It’s important to choose a divorce attorney with a strong financial background and experience with high-asset divorce cases. Contact our experienced lawyers today to set up a consultation. 

In Colorado, Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

Posted in Divorce on April 11, 2023

Divorce is rarely an easy decision, but when it becomes an inevitable conclusion, regardless of the circumstances, one party must make the first legal move forward. In Colorado, whether one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t, or both agree that their marriage has ended, only one person can file the petition. When spouses must part ways, the question of who should file for divorce first is a frequent concern brought up to divorce lawyers during an initial consultation.

Because Colorado doesn’t require grounds for divorce other than a marriage that’s “irretrievably broken,” it no longer means that one party has been wronged and the other is at fault when one spouse files the petition and the other is served with papers. For that reason, fault and blame no longer come into play when choosing whether or not to file first. Instead, weighing the decision should involve understanding some of the pros and cons of being the first to file.

The Petitioner May Be Better Prepared

Divorce is never easy, but when you are the spouse who files first, you have time to prepare for living apart. This means you can take the following steps before filing for divorce:

  • Find a new residence if you don’t plan on retaining the marital home, or a temporary residence if necessary until your spouse moves out 
  • Make any necessary changes to your career or to your work schedule at your existing job
  • Start a separate bank account
  • Begin new, individual accounts for services like your cell phone, WiFi, and streaming services
  • Preserve evidence you may need for deciding custody matters
  • Gather all relevant documents and financial information for disclosure

By being the spouse who makes the first move, you have the advantage of being well-prepared rather than scrambling to catch up to a spouse who prepared ahead of time.

Further Advantages of Filing for Divorce First in Colorado

Besides being well-prepared in advance, there are several important advantages you can enjoy by being the petitioner rather than the respondent in the divorce including:

  • Choosing the jurisdiction. By being the petitioner, you can file in your own jurisdiction which means you won’t have to travel for any of the divorce proceedings. This is an advantage if your spouse has moved away or out of state during the separation.
  • You have an advantage in the timeline of the divorce. When you are the one who files first, you have the opportunity to take your time in the details of the petition. 
  • The spouse has 21 days in which to respond if they live in Colorado or 35 days to respond if they’ve moved out of state. This gives them a limited number of days to form their responses to the details of your petition.
  • You can include requests for temporary relief. The petitioning party has the option of including requests for temporary child support, spousal support, and an order to freeze marital assets if you feel that your spouse may try to hide assets prior to the division of property.

Colorado Divorce Lawyer

Are There Disadvantages to Filing for Divorce First in Colorado?

Being the petitioner in a divorce means that you have to pay the filing fees on top of any attorney’s fees. It also means your spouse is now alerted to your demands, so they may begin to attempt to hide assets and form responses to undermine or counteract anything you detailed in your petition.

If you have a history of domestic abuse in your marriage, filing divorce papers could place you at significant risk if your spouse is volatile. If you believe you could be in danger from an angry spouse, prepare before the papers are served by speaking to your attorney about restraining orders.

How to Handle Narcissism in Divorce

Posted in Divorce on April 11, 2023

Even under the best of circumstances, when married couples agree to part amicably, divorce is a difficult, upsetting experience, but when one spouse in a divorce is a narcissist, the process becomes even more distressful. Understanding how a narcissist works can help you navigate the process and the emotions associated with narcissistic behavior with a better strategy for accomplishing your goals despite the manipulation, gaslighting, and sabotage you’re likely to encounter. A narcissist doesn’t tolerate losing and can’t bear having their inflated feelings of self-worth threatened—divorce and the resulting division of assets and child custody judgment can be a double wallop to a narcissist’s ego.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

According to clinical psychologists, narcissism is a recognized psychological disorder. A narcissist has an unrealistic idea of their own importance and an exaggerated expectation for admiration. Like many personality disorders, narcissism is a spectrum, but most narcissists experience troubled relationships because no one can live up to their need for constant attention, admiration, and deference to their opinions and will.

Marriage to a narcissist is difficult, and divorcing a narcissist is even harder, especially since they may see every single asset you keep during Colorado’s “equitable division of property” laws as a loss and losing is unacceptable to them.

How to Carefully Navigate Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorce exposes a narcissist as less than perfect since they were not able to sustain their relationship and their spouse is able to walk away from them—a public insult to an inflated ego. This may make the narcissist more likely to lash out and increases the likelihood of a contentious, high-conflict divorce. The best way to handle a divorce from a narcissist is to use the following specific tactics to counteract their tendencies to exploit the process as a means to gain the attention and point-scoring that they crave:

  • Work with an attorney with experience representing clients with narcissistic personalities and be sure to explain the situation
  • Have your lawyer and/or a mediator present for all negotiations
  • Resist taking any bait that would potentially lead to a confrontation
  • If you’ve experienced any abuse from your narcissistic spouse, ask your attorney about obtaining a restraining order
  • Only respond to communications from the spouse when necessary, and keep all responses to their texts, emails, and phone calls brief and factual
  • If your spouse has a clinical diagnosis of narcissism it can be used as evidence in court

Finally, it’s important to know that a long-term relationship with a narcissist can deeply impact your own emotions and leave lasting scars. During and after the divorce process, it’s important to prioritize your own self-care by leaning on supportive family and friends and seeking professional counseling.

Fort Collins Divorce Lawyer

Therapy Options for Recovering After A Relationship With a Narcissist 

Navigating a relationship and then divorce with a narcissist is exhausting. You may find therapy helpful if you choose a clinician with experience treating spouses of narcissists. Some recommended therapy options include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for help learning to promptly address negative thoughts and reframe them into a positive
  • Family therapy to address emotions and conflicts within the family dynamics
  • Group therapy to speak with others with similar experiences

While the divorce process is always a difficult and emotional experience, there are more than the usual emotional and legal pitfalls when dealing with a divorce from a narcissistic spouse. By lining up support through family, friends, counselors, and an attorney experienced in this type of personality disorder, you can get through the difficult process and emerge with a new sense of dignity, strength, and purpose.

What to Do With Your Pets in Divorce

Posted in Divorce on April 11, 2023

Divorce is difficult under any circumstances, and no one expects their trip down the aisle to eventually lead them to divorce court, but the divorce rate in Colorado is the 15th highest in the United States. America is a country that loves its pets like family members, and when spouses add pets to their family, they typically invest deep bonds of love and care into those relationships.

Colorado is not a strictly 50/50 divorce state for marital property or for child custody, but instead, the courts work under an equitable division of property rule in an effort to divide possessions and assets fairly. Colorado also has laws that place the best interests of children as its highest priority, and rather than applying a 50/50 parenting time division, parenting schedules are typically adapted to what works best for the family with the aim of encouraging continued frequent contact with both parents. But in Colorado, where nearly 50% of households have pets, the concern about what will happen to the pets during a divorce is a frequently asked question to family court attorneys by worried pet parents.

Determining Pet Custody in a Colorado Divorce

To date, Colorado has no specific laws concerning pet custody. Therefore, while the courts take each case on an individual basis, pets are treated as property, defaulting to the state’s fair and equitable division of property laws. Since pets are not children, parenting time schedules and financial support concerns for pets as of yet have no place in divorce law. Instead, the court typically considers the following when deciding on pet custody:

  • Did the pet belong to one spouse before the marriage, making it separate property and not subject to division?
  • How much time, care, and attention did each spouse devote to the pet?
  • What economic circumstances will each spouse have after the divorce?
  • What other assets did each spouse get in the division of property terms of the divorce?

Like other assets in a marriage, the court encourages divorcing spouses to work out the terms of pet custody through their lawyers or in mediation so the judge only needs to sign off on an existing agreement rather than making the judgment within the court.

Negotiating pet custody along with other assets may work something like this: If one spouse really wishes to keep a car, treasured piece of furniture, or vacation property, they may “trade” it for the custody of a pet.

Children and Pets

In cases of divorcing spouses with children, the judge may consider with whom the children spend the majority of their time. If one parent enjoys more parenting time or primary custody of the children, the judge may decide that the children and the pet should not endure a separation. Unless other circumstances weigh in, a judge is likely to award pet custody to the parent with whom the children reside most often.

Fort Collins Divorce Attorney

Protecting Your Pet Custody in Colorado

Because there are no laws specifically for pet custody in Colorado, a devoted pet parent should try to safeguard their right to keep a special pet either through a prenuptial agreement, through mediating a settlement agreement, or by turning the decision over to an arbitrator. Arbitration in Colorado allows for family members to testify and present evidence highlighting each spouse’s relationship to the pet in order to make a binding decision. In some cases, an arbitrator may even spend time observing each spouse with the pet before making a decision.

In the end, the best way to decide on pet custody is to place the needs of the pet above any rancor or contention you might feel toward your spouse and make a decision that’s truly in the pet’s best interest. Since no one knows your pet like you do, deciding the matter out of court is almost always a much better option than letting an impartial judge decide.

How to Begin the Healing Process After Divorce

Posted in Divorce on April 11, 2023

When a couple marries, they essentially form a supportive new community of two, and then add to that community as they build a family. When a marriage ends, regardless of the reason, each spouse agrees to leave behind the tight-knit community they’d formed and face a new reality. While some divorcing spouses might relish the idea of beginning anew, either with an intention to move into new relationships or to focus on their individuality, others may deeply grieve the love, security, and safety they felt as part of the marital community. 

If you’re still reeling from the divorce process, it’s important to examine your feelings so you understand when you need help dealing with powerful emotions.

How do newly divorced couples begin the healing process so they can move forward after divorce?

Processing the End of the Marriage

The initial stage of healing from a divorce is getting through grief and anger. Whether you chose to end the marriage, your spouse made the decision, or it was a mutual “decoupling,” ending a marriage is painful. Your feelings could range from grief and loss to rage and bitterness depending on the circumstances that led to the divorce. Before you can begin the healing process, you have to allow time to feel these emotions. You can’t go around them but must work your way through them. 

According to Psychology Today, you should expect to feel surges of emotions and should eat and sleep as well as you can so that you have the strength to process these surges.

While there may be many decisions to make during this time, and some of them may require the advice of your divorce lawyer, you should also discuss them with someone you trust to ensure that you aren’t making decisions based purely on raw emotions. Turn to a close friend, a family member, or a counselor for advice or support during this painful period.

Adjusting to Change

Once the dust settles from the contentious aspects of divorce, you might find yourself struggling to adjust to a new routine. If you have children, you’ll also have to help them through their own emotions and the change in their routines. You may have to deal with custody and visitation schedules for the first time, and you also have major changes in your home environment whether you’ve retained the family home and your spouse has moved out, or you’ve left the family home for a new residence. Your financial situation is likely to also have changed. Divorce brings many changes to your daily life all at once.

While everything may feel new and challenging, the key is to remind yourself that you’ll soon adjust to a “new normal” and won’t always feel like you are suddenly living someone else’s life. As the weeks pass, you’ll find new coping skills and can begin to look ahead to a more stable life beyond the whirlwind of changes.

Developing New Interests

One of the signs of healing after the ink dries on the divorce papers is developing new interests or rekindling old ones that you might have put aside while focusing on the marriage. Whether it’s new exercise routines, taking your artist’s brushes and canvases out of the closet, or spending your downtime working on the novel you’ve always had in the back of your mind, once you’ve adjusted to your new life, you may find you enjoy stretching your wings and rediscovering who you are apart from your ex-spouse. Always remember to prioritize your mental health

While it’s important not to begin a new relationship before you’ve discovered more about who you are apart from a relationship, you may find that you can finally consider a future that could one day welcome the fun of dating and the promise of a new relationship ahead.

Colorado Divorce Lawyer

Acceptance, Family, and Friendship

Once you begin to feel relaxed and at home with your new life and you’ve developed new interests, you’ll find the acceptance and peace that only months ago felt impossible. 

While some divorced spouses will never get over the hurt and anger enough to be friends—and in cases of leaving behind abusive relationships it’s best to NOT be friends with an ex—but if circumstances allow, being able to rekindle a friendship or at least civility with an ex-spouse is the best case scenario and the ultimate indication of completing the healing process after a divorce. Once the rancor is put aside, you may find that your shared history—and in some cases, shared children—means you’ll always have a special role in each other’s lives that may mellow into kindness toward each other.

Should You Change Your Child’s Name in a Family Law Case?

Posted in Divorce on March 31, 2023

You may wish to change your name after a family law proceeding, such as a divorce or legal separation from your spouse. Reverting back to your maiden name, for example, might be the right fit as you start your new life. Whether or not you should change your child’s last name, however, depends on the circumstances.

Why Change Your Child’s Name? 

What is right for some families may not be right for others. When considering changing your child’s last name after a divorce, think about your reasoning. If you want to have your child’s last name changed to spite your ex-spouse or as a form of revenge, it may not be what is best for your child. If your child would feel more comfortable sharing your last name and not your ex-spouse’s, however, or if your new family unit would be better off with a name change, it might be in your child’s best interest.

The Best Interests of the Child 

While adults can change their names with little issue, you must receive permission from the courts to change the name of a minor in Colorado. A judge needs permission from both parents for the name change, or else the matter will require court intervention. As with other aspects involving family law, such as child custody, the courts base name-change decisions on one main standard: what is in the best interest of the child. This means what will maintain or improve the child’s quality of life or serve the child’s needs.

To make a determination on changing a child’s name, the courts will examine several factors, including:

  • The age of the child
  • How long the child has had his or her current name
  • Whether or not the child has become part of a new family unit (such as with a remarriage)
  • The strength of the child’s relationship with the other parent and whether a name change would harm this relationship
  • The child’s relationship with his or her siblings, half-siblings or stepsiblings
  • Potential psychological harm that may be caused by the name change
  • Potential benefits to changing the child’s name
  • The child’s wishes, if old enough and mature enough

The courts will analyze the current situation of the child as well as the parent who is petitioning for the name change. If it is determined that the change would maintain or improve the child’s current situation, the request will most likely be granted. If there is evidence that the name change could have negative repercussions on the child’s life, welfare, mental health or relationship with either parent, however, it may be denied.

What if One Parent Will Not Agree to a Name Change?

State law typically requires both parents to agree to the name change if you wish to avoid court intervention. If your spouse does not permit the change or wishes to stop it, you will need to notify that parent of your intent to change the name at least 30 days before your court date that is set to hear the issue. You must fill out the required forms and file a petition to change your child’s name. This action will be separate from your divorce, legal separation or custody case. 

After you submit your court forms, you will need to serve your ex-spouse. This is an official process that you can do yourself or hire someone to perform for you. The child’s other parent will then fill out a Proof of Service form to show that the petition was received. The matter can then proceed to court, where a judge will hear arguments from both sides before making a decision. An experienced family law attorney can help you argue your case if your ex-spouse is objecting to your child’s name change.

Are Divorces More Common in the Spring?

Posted in Divorce on March 31, 2023

Statistically, more divorces are filed during certain times of year than others. One of these high-volume divorce seasons is spring. Traditionally, the holidays and the months directly after are a peak time for divorce filings in the United States. If you feel that your relationship has come to an end, consider if this spring is the right time for your divorce case.

Holiday-Driven Springtime Divorces 

The holidays can be stressful for couples who are already on the brink of a breakup, with financial strain associated with buying gifts, holiday travel, the kids being home from school, visits with family and other triggers. The stress of the winter holidays leads to many couples filing for divorce the following spring. This waiting period is especially common among couples with children.

Many parents don’t want to ruin the winter holidays for their kids by getting divorced before or during Christmastime. Instead, if they decide to split up over the holiday season, they often wait until the following year to announce it and file. They put off filing for divorce and going through the legal process until after the holidays are behind them and the kids are back in school. This can make things easier for the whole family.

New Year, New You

Springtime divorces are also commonly associated with life reassessments and setting goals for the new year. Part of an individual’s New Year’s resolution may be to end a relationship that has run its course. The holidays may have been the last straw, making one or both people realize that they would be better off divorced or legally separated. A married couple may see January as the perfect opportunity to file for divorce and get a fresh start for the coming year. 

Financial Stability Post-Holidays 

Divorce can be expensive. This is especially true if the couple does not get along or communicate well; a contested divorce may require a costly court trial. Many couples wish to wait until they can afford a divorce, which may be after their accounts have recuperated from holiday spending. It may take until springtime for a couple to save up enough money to pay the filing fee and afford their divorce attorneys.

Spring Is a Time for Letting Go 

“Spring cleaning” can apply to more than just a cluttered home. For some couples, the start of spring can signal an opportunity for a personal or emotional overhaul. Warmer weather and spring blooms can encourage an unhappy couple to finally pull the trigger on ending a marriage that has become toxic or draining. It can be a good time to purge emotional clutter, handle the divorce process and come away feeling refreshed.  

Spring Is Tax Season

On a more practical level, spring is tax season. The timing of the IRS’s tax deadlines in March and April may play a role in when a couple chooses to file for divorce for financial reasons. If a couple typically receives a sizable tax return, for instance, they may wait for this to hit their accounts so that they can use the money to fund the divorce process. In other situations, a couple may wish to avoid major tax penalties associated with divorce by separating after filing their taxes for the previous year.  

When Should You File for Divorce?

Couples tend to file for divorce in the springtime for a number of reasons. If your marriage has come to an end, consider if this spring could be the right time to file for divorce. You may wish to embrace new beginnings and the idea of a fresh start in April and May, when spring cleaning, warm sunshine and fresh starts naturally abound. Getting divorced this spring could boost your emotional, mental and physical well-being. 

If you wish to discuss the timeline for your divorce case in Fort Collins, Colorado, contact The Law Office of Stephen Vertucci, LLC to request a consultation with an attorney.