How Are Retirement Accounts Handled During Divorce?

Posted in Divorce on September 30, 2021

Legal Advocacy for Your Colorado DivorceIf you and your spouse are planning on getting a divorce, there are many things that you will need to consider. One is the financial impact of the divorce, including how your marital assets and debts will be divided between you and your partner. If either or both of you have retirement accounts, savings accounts, pension plans or 401(k)s, find out how these assets will be handled during a divorce case in Colorado. 

Is it Separate or Community Property?

 Colorado uses an equitable division law to determine property division in a divorce. This means that if your case goes to trial, a judge will allocate a percentage of all marital assets and debts to each spouse based on what is equitable or fair. This does not necessarily mean an equal or 50/50 split. However, the courts will only have jurisdiction over community property, not separate property. 

 Community property is anything acquired during the course of a marriage. Separate property is brought into the marriage by one of the spouses. In general, any funds that you deposited into a retirement account before your marriage are classified as separate property and will not be divisible during a divorce. Anything deposited after your marriage is part of the community property and subject to division. Note, however, that separate funds in a retirement account can be viewed as community property if your marriage lasts a long time.

What Type of Retirement Account Do You Have?

 How a judge decides to split a retirement account depends on the type of account in question. Most retirement plans are defined contribution plans or defined benefit plans. In the first type, the individual or employee contributes a set amount to the retirement savings account. The employer may match contributions up to a maximum. Examples of this type of plan are a 401(k) and pension plan. In a defined benefit plan, the amount the employee or person receives is calculated based on the length of time worked and the salary earned at the time of retirement.

When dividing a defined contribution retirement account in a divorce case, the courts in Colorado will require the spouse with the plan to transfer part of the value of the plan at the time of the divorce to the other spouse in the form of an IRA or similar retirement account. This transfer will not be taxed. When dividing a defined benefit retirement account, the courts will first determine the value of the benefit accumulated during the length of the marriage. 

Then, an amount that is deemed appropriate will be given to the other spouse – only after the owner of the account retires. This is known as deferred distribution. Typically, a spouse is entitled to about 50 percent of a retirement account, although this can change depending on the case. The division of retirement accounts during a divorce is a complicated issue that typically requires professional accountants and financial experts.

What Is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a document that is required for retirement asset division if you wish to avoid tax and withdrawal penalties. A QDRO instructs the administrator of the retirement account on how to allocate funds to each spouse after a divorce in accordance with a settlement agreement or court order. Your case may require more than one QDRO depending on the diversity of your retirement assets and how much they are worth.

Consult With an Attorney for Assistance                       

If your divorce involves retirement savings accounts or pension plans, contact an attorney for assistance. A Fort Collins divorce attorney can help you protect your nest egg with creative legal strategies such as alternative dispute resolution. A lawyer can also help you understand and obtain QDROs to protect you from financial penalties. Working with an attorney can help you safeguard your future.

Complete Financial Disclosure in a Divorce Case in Colorado

Posted in Divorce,Family Law on September 30, 2021

Legal Advocacy for Your Colorado Divorce

The financial side of a divorce case is often the most complicated part. To simplify things and keep them fair, the law in Colorado requires both sides of a divorce to disclose full and accurate information about their assets and debts to the other side, typically early on in the divorce process. Before you and your spouse can work out a property division settlement – or your case is handed to a judge – you must both submit complete financial disclosures. Failing to do so can result in serious penalties. 

What Does Complete Financial Disclosure Mean?

One of the first steps that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must take to get divorced in Colorado is to submit your financial disclosure information and supporting financial documents. According to Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2(e), both parties involved in a divorce or legal separation case are required to fully and accurately disclose their financial situations. This requirement is called an absolute duty, meaning that it is mandatory and not optional. 

You can fulfill this legal obligation by filling out and submitting financial affidavits before the deadline, which will then be provided to your spouse or his or her attorney. An affidavit is a sworn financial statement with details of everything that you earn and pay each month. In general, financial disclosures must be submitted within 42 days of the couple filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation in Colorado. Some of the information that a financial disclosure form must contain is:

  • Income from a job or business
  • Income from self-employment
  • Savings accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Pension plans
  • Investments
  • Real estate
  • Marital assets
  • Separate property
  • Income deductions 
  • Monthly expenses
  • Debts

The goal of complete financial disclosure is to give both parties involved in a divorce a clear view and understanding of the other party’s financial situation. That way, they can both make informed decisions on how to divide their marital property, as well as how to calculate child support and spousal support obligations. If the couple cannot reach a settlement and the divorce case goes to court in Colorado, the courts will use the financial disclosure affidavits in much the same way – to determine fair or equitable terms for the divorce.

What Are the Penalties for Incomplete Financial Disclosure?

Both spouses involved in a divorce case in Colorado must provide sworn financial statements with full and accurate information. In addition, they must provide the requested financial documentation to support their affidavits, such as tax returns, financial statements, bank account information and investment documentation. 

If either spouse fails to make complete and honest financial disclosures during a divorce, that person can face serious legal consequences and penalties, such as being held in contempt of court, having to pay a fine and even spending time in jail. In addition, the courts in Colorado may allow one spouse to reopen a divorce case if evidence is found that the other spouse committed a material omission or misstatement of disclosure.

When to Use a Divorce Lawyer in Colorado

 It is critical that financial affidavits and related forms are properly and accurately prepared and submitted by the deadline in Colorado. Failing to do so, even by mistake, can result in the party being accused of intentionally withholding information or hiding assets. The best way to make sure that you fulfill your legal obligation when it comes to complete financial disclosure in a divorce case is by working with an experienced attorney in Fort Collins

 Hiring a divorce attorney can allow you to rest and relax while a skilled and knowledgeable professional fills out confusing paperwork and submits it to the family courts on your behalf. An attorney can help you prepare all of the necessary forms and financial documents to submit to the courts during your divorce, making your dissolution of marriage as effective and efficient as possible. In addition, in the case of a spouse’s omission or misrepresentation, a lawyer can help you pursue justice. Contact an attorney today for more information.

How to Keep Your Separate Property Separate During Divorce

Posted in Divorce on September 29, 2021

Legal Advocacy for Your Colorado Divorce

Property division is one of the most complicated aspects of the average divorce case. It is normal to want to keep your hard-earned assets for yourself when dissolving your marriage – especially if you were the one that brought them into the union. Learn how to keep your separate property separate during a divorce to protect them from division.

What Is Separate Property?

In the eyes of the law, there are two types of property in a divorce case: separate and community. Community property is everything that the courts can divide in a divorce case. Separate property, on the other hand, is protected from being split. 

Community property refers to anything purchased, acquired or brought into the relationship during the marriage. This can include income, retirement savings, investments, real estate, vehicles, collectibles and other types of assets. It can also refer to debts accumulated during the marriage. Separate property is any assets or debts owned by one of the spouses prior to the marriage. Any gifts or inheritance given solely to one spouse during the union are also classified as separate property. 

In Colorado, the courts can divide community property, but they cannot touch separate property. Colorado is an equitable division state, which means that the courts will divide property based on what is equitable if the case goes to trial. This does not necessarily mean equally. This is why it is important to know how to keep your separate property separate during a divorce case.

How to Protect Your Separate Property

There are many ways in which you can protect your separate property during a divorce to prevent it from being processed as community property. The right type of action for you and your family will depend on your circumstances. Your options may include:

  • Keeping the asset only in your name. Do not commingle separate property. Commingling turns separate property into community property by legally sharing it with your spouse. Common examples include combining both of your bank accounts into one joint account or adding someone’s name to a title. If you wish to keep a piece of property separate during a divorce, keep it in your name only during your marriage.
  • Filing for legal separation. Filing for legal separation before you file for divorce can have many benefits. One of them is marking any income, assets or property that you acquire after your date of legal separation as your own separate property – not to be divided with your spouse should you choose to get divorced later.
  • Tracing it back. It is your responsibility to prove that an asset you are claiming to be your own separate property is in fact separate. This takes paperwork that traces the asset back to its origin or source. If you have the right paperwork or evidence, you can meet your burden of proof and successfully protect the separate property in question.
  • Putting it in writing. State law in Colorado states that any property or assets that are described as separate property by written agreement of the parties involved in the divorce case will be kept separate from the community property and protected from division. A written agreement can include a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
  • Reaching a settlement. If you and your spouse can work together to achieve an uncontested divorce, you can create a settlement agreement where you get to decide how to divide your property. You may be able to control what assets and property you get to keep if you can compromise with your spouse, as the courts will not intervene.

Consult with a divorce attorney in Fort Collins for legal advice on the best way to keep your separate property separate during a divorce case. A divorce attorney can help you protect your rights and assets every step of the way.

How is Property Divided in a Colorado Divorce?

Posted in Divorce on September 13, 2021

Legal Advocacy for Your Colorado Divorce

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce in Colorado, one of the main issues you will need to work through is property division. If you and your spouse can work together on a property division arrangement, you can remain in control of how assets and debts will be divided after your divorce. Otherwise, the matter will go to court for a judge to decide according to the rules of Colorado’s property division law. The more you know about property division in Colorado, the more you can protect your rights.

Colorado Is an Equitable Division State

Property division laws vary from state to state. Colorado law requires that division of property in divorce be “equitable and fair,” which means that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a 50/50 split. By contrast, community property states hold that all property accrued during a marriage is subject to a 50/50 distribution.

Couples have the option of deciding what is an equitable and fair division of property. If they cannot decide between themselves, a mediator or arbiter may help with the negotiation process. If these alternative dispute resolution tactics fail, the last option is litigation. A judge may consider the following factors when determining a fair and equitable distribution of property in Colorado:

  • The financial situation of each spouse
  • Any increase or decrease in shared property throughout the marriage
  • The desire the parent who receives custody to live in the family home
  • Any dissolution of separate property for the sake of the marriage

With these factors in mind, a judge will divide marital property based on what is fair for the specific circumstances. If one spouse makes substantially less than the other due to giving up a career to take care of the family, for example, the lesser-earning spouse may get to keep more of the couple’s marital property, such as a shared home. However, each case is unique.

Determining Separate and Marital Property

There are two main types of property according to Colorado law: marital and separate. A couple’s marital property will likely include all assets or debts that both parties accrue throughout the course of the marriage. This may include real estate, businesses, vehicles, collectibles, jewelry, art, bank accounts, investments, stocks and bonds, retirement savings, and more. The courts can divide marital property but cannot touch separate property.

Separate property, on the other hand, pertains to assets and debts a spouse owned before the marriage or acquired through inheritance. If separate property experiences an increase throughout the course of a marriage, this increase is marital property. There can be exceptions to these marital and separate property rules, assuming that a couple signs a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. In this case, the couple will divide property in accordance with the terms of the marital agreement.

To make matters even more complicated, sometimes marital property and separate property can become mixed together, which is a concept called “commingling.” For example, a separate bank account may become marital property when the other spouse makes a deposit into it, or a separate inheritance may become marital property when the receiving spouse deposits it into a joint banking account. Assessing marital and separate property can be difficult and often becomes a point of contention in Colorado divorces, necessitating the assistance of a family law attorney.

Process of Dividing Property

Property division is a complicated aspect of any Colorado divorce case. Understanding what to expect from this process can help you and your family properly prepare for when it comes time to negotiate a settlement or go to trial. In a Colorado divorce proceeding, an attorney or judge will use the following basic formula to divide property between two spouses:

  • Assess the value of your property. After determining which assets and debts are marital property, the couple (or a judge, if a divorce results in litigation) will assign a monetary value to each article. This may require professional appraisals of real estate, business holdings and other assets.
  • The division process begins. If spouses choose to divide property among themselves, they can assign items to each party and make equalizing payments if one gets an asset that’s worth substantially more than the other. Additionally, they may mutually agree to liquidate assets and divide the proceeds. Still others choose to amicably continue to co-own property, but this is not always the best option.
  • Spouses must split marital debts as well as assets. This includes mortgages, car loans, credit card debts, and more.
  • If the spouses cannot compromise and agree on how to divide marital property, the case will go to trial. In this scenario, a judge will analyze the facts of the case and allocate property to either spouse based on what is fair or equitable.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Versus Litigation

If a divorcing couple cannot come to an amicable arrangement regarding division of property, they have two other options: alternative dispute resolution tactics such as mediation and litigation. Litigation is a last resort for couples oftentimes, since it involves court costs, additional attorney’s fees, and an outcome that neither spouse will like. Mediation is a preferable alternative to having a judge rule on your property division issue.

Mediation is a private meeting between you, your spouse, your attorneys (if desired) and a mediator. A mediator does not have the same capacity as a judge. The mediator cannot make a ruling on property division. Instead, the mediator is someone who is trained in conflict resolution, there to help you and your spouse compromise on property division and the other elements of your divorce case.

Another form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. Arbitration is similar to mediation in that it is private and does not take place in a courtroom. It also does not necessarily have to end in a ruling (binding vs. nonbinding arbitration). If mediation and arbitration fail, however, a divorcing couple may have no choice but to engage in litigation. You can increase the odds of successful alternative dispute resolution by hiring a lawyer to represent you during negotiations.

How Can an Attorney Help With Property Division?

Do not take property division lightly during a divorce case in Colorado. Just because Colorado is an equitable division state does not mean that a judge’s ruling on how to divide your marital assets and debts will be fair to you or match your desired arrangement. Once a judge makes a property division ruling, it is generally not possible to seek a modification of the order except in extenuating circumstances. This is why it is important to protect your rights and best interests with a divorce attorney from the very beginning of your case.

A family law attorney in Fort Collins will have the experience and resources to help you navigate Colorado’s legal system. Your attorney will fully understand the state’s divorce laws and property division issues. Your attorney can help you and your spouse divide marital assets and debts in a way that is fair for both of you. If a settlement cannot be achieved, your attorney can represent you at trial. Either way, an attorney can answer your legal questions and make sure that you have everything you need during this difficult time.

Property division in Colorado can become complicated and often requires the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. Talk to a divorce attorney about your legal options if you have further questions.

What Do Temporary Injunctions in a Divorce in Colorado Actually Mean?

Posted in Child Relocation,Divorce on June 30, 2021

The filing of every divorce case in Colorado creates an automatic temporary injunction. This is a legal order that prohibits both parties involved in the divorce or legal separation from certain activities, mainly relating to the destruction or use of marital property. Understanding how a temporary injunction works can help you avoid doing something that could get you into legal trouble. It can also help you protect your rights if your ex-spouse violates the injunction.

What Is a Temporary Injunction?

A temporary injunction, also known as a preliminary injunction, serves to protect the rights of both parties during a dissolution of marriage. The state law regarding automatic temporary injunctions is Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-107(b)(I). It states that upon the commencement of a divorce or legal separation proceeding by one of the parties, a temporary injunction will go into effect against both parties until the final divorce decree is entered or the petition is dismissed.

Temporary injunctions put many restraints on both parties involved in a divorce proceeding. Neither party may engage in any of the following activities while a temporary injunction is in place:

  • Disposing of marital property in any way without the consent of the other party or a court order. This includes concealing, transferring, encumbering or destroying marital property.
  • Molesting or disturbing the peace of the other party. This can refer to many actions meant to irritate or injure the other party.
  • Relocating a minor child or children of the parties to a different state without the consent of the other parent or a court order.
  • Canceling, modifying or allowing a lapse in a shared insurance policy, such as health insurance or automobile insurance, without giving the spouse at least 14 days’ advance notice and obtaining the spouse’s consent or a court order.

The terms of the temporary injunction must be printed upon the summons. There are some exceptions to a temporary injunction. For example, you may be allowed to dispose of marital property without your ex-spouse’s consent if doing so is a natural result of your usual course of business or for the necessities of life. If you are not sure whether you have the legal right to dispose of marital property, consult with an attorney before doing so.

Understanding Temporary Injunctions

In simple terms, a temporary injunction in a divorce case in Colorado prohibits both parties from engaging in activities that would hurt the other spouse physically, emotionally or financially. This law is in place due to the emotional nature of a divorce or legal separation. Its purpose is to prevent either party from doing something out of spite to harm the other party, such as destroying property to prevent the other spouse from receiving it in a divorce case.

It is important to note that temporary injunctions only apply to marital property, not your separate property. You can do what you wish to property that is classified as separate, such as property that you brought into the marriage (and did not commingle with your spouse’s property) or gifts or inheritance given only to you during your marriage. Verify that a piece of property is your separate property before acting. The law generally holds that you can also do what you want with your will, estate plan and separate credit cards, as long as it does not impact marital property.

If you believe your spouse violated a temporary injunction in your divorce or legal separation case, speak to an attorney right away. You have several options available, such as filing a motion for contempt of court or communicating directly with your spouse to resolve the violation. An attorney can help you with all of the aspects related to a temporary injunction while protecting your legal rights during a divorce case. Learn more today by contacting the Fort Collins divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Stephen Vertucci.

What Happens to an Adopted Child During a Divorce?

Posted in Child Custody,Child Relocation,Divorce on June 29, 2021

An adopted child is viewed in the same way as a biological child by the divorce courts in Colorado. This means if you and your spouse get divorced with an adopted child, matters such as child custody and child support will be determined in much the same way as if the child were biological and born of the marriage. There may be some special considerations, however, related to the adoption. For assistance with a complicated child custody matter, contact a Fort Collins divorce lawyer.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

You and your spouse will have the opportunity to reach a settlement agreement that determines issues such as child custody, visitation and child support on your own, without court intervention. This is what is known as an uncontested divorce case. It may be helpful to use a form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, to reach a settlement agreement with your spouse and avoid a trial. If you cannot reach a settlement regarding custody of an adopted child or another key issue, your divorce case will have to go to court. This means you would have a contested divorce.

Colorado Child Custody Laws

In Colorado, the family courts will look at many different things to determine child custody if your divorce case goes to trial. For the most part, the courts will want the adopted child to remain in contact with both parents. Adoptive parents have a duty to care for and provide for the child as they would with children born of the marriage. However, the main factor is the adopted child’s best interests.

Custody of an adopted child is based on factors such as:

  • The wishes of both parents and the child
  • The child’s relationship to either parent
  • The child’s connection to his or her community and surroundings
  • The child’s safety and wellbeing
  • Any special circumstances or special needs the child has
  • Each parent’s living situation
  • Family history

These are the same factors that are considered when determining custody of a biological child in a divorce case in Colorado. Adopted children also have the right to receive financial support from both parents, meaning the courts may require one spouse (typically the noncustodial parent) to pay the other child support.

Special Considerations for Adopted Children

If the child is one parent’s biological child and the other parent’s adopted child, the courts will value both parental relationships in the same way. The parent with the biological relationship to the child will not receive preference based on this. Each parent will be viewed as the child’s legal parent and treated the same way.

One special issue that may arise in a divorce case involving an adopted child is an adoption subsidy payment. Subsidy payments are given to the child in an amount that may be several hundred dollars each month. If the parents get divorced, the adopted child will continue to receive this subsidy payment until he or she reaches the age of majority.

In general, an adoption subsidy is viewed as the child’s property and does not change how much the noncustodial parent must pay in child support. A portion of the subsidy, however, may be given to the other parent based on his or her share of parenting time. Like child custody and other divorce matters, a couple always has the ability to determine child support on their own before the matter goes to a judge.

What If the Adoption Is Still Pending?

If you and your spouse split up while an adoption is still pending, your divorce may affect the adoption. If the adoptive mother is making the final decision, for instance, she may not give her consent to the adoption after learning of your divorce. In addition, the court in charge of the adoption will consider how the divorce might affect the child. If the birth mother still consents and one parent wishes to proceed with the adoption, there is a chance that it will still go through. These are complicated cases, however, that deserve legal attention. Contact a divorce attorney in Colorado today for more information.

Can You Avoid Going to Court During a Divorce?

Posted in Divorce on June 28, 2021

One of the most daunting aspects of a divorce is the possibility of going to court. Standing in a courtroom and having a judge make life-changing decisions for you is something that you most likely want to avoid – not to mention the cost, stress and time of a divorce trial. You can avoid going to court during a divorce case in Colorado by resolving your divorce through alternative dispute resolution. A Fort Collins divorce lawyer can help you avoid conflict and move through your case as smoothly as possible.

When Will a Divorce Case Go to Court in Colorado?

California family law does not require you to go to court to get divorced. It is possible to fill out your divorce papers, file them, reach a settlement with your ex-spouse and have a judge sign off without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. A court appearance might be necessary, however, if you and your ex cannot come to a settlement agreement on the pertinent issues of your divorce.

All couples have the opportunity to work together to decide the terms of their divorce before a judge will intervene. A divorce case in Colorado will only go to court if the couple cannot reach a settlement. A settlement is an agreement between both parties on major issues, such as property division, child custody and child support.

Achieving a settlement will give you what is known as an uncontested divorce. This is a much simpler process than a contested divorce. It leaves you and your spouse in control of your divorce decree. It allows you to avoid going to court by having a judge sign off on the settlement created by you and your spouse (and your attorney). If you cannot agree on all of the terms of your dissolution of marriage, however, your case will have to go to trial.

What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

You and your spouse will have a few different opportunities to work things out between yourselves before having to take your divorce case to court in Colorado. If simple conversations between you and your ex are not productive, you can try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for outside help that does not take away your power to make the final decisions.

There are three different types of ADR available in Colorado:

  1. Mediation is encouraged between divorcing couples in Colorado. It is a meeting between both parties and a mediator, who is an unbiased third party such as a lawyer or a retired judge, who is trained in conflict resolution. The mediator does not have the power to issue a judgment; he or she is simply there to facilitate compromises. Mediation does not have to result in a settlement – both parties can walk away without a resolution if desired.
  2. Arbitration is often the next step if mediation fails. Arbitration is also performed outside of the courtroom. It involves the two parties, their attorneys (if desired) and an arbitrator. Unlike a mediator, an arbitrator has the power to make a judgment. However, the couple can decide whether or not to use the judgment (binding vs. nonbinding arbitration).
  3. Collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce process uses a combination of mediation and negotiation to achieve a settlement. It is only available for couples who have agreed to work together in a collaborative process to reach an agreement on the critical terms of their divorce. Collaborative divorce often involves lawyers to help each party protect their rights and advocate for their desires.

Alternative dispute resolution has better odds of succeeding and allowing your family to avoid a courtroom if you hire a divorce lawyer to represent you. A lawyer will have the training and experience to help you work through complicated matters such as custody, visitation, and dividing your assets and debt. Your lawyer will help you come up with creative solutions to reach a settlement that works for your family. Discuss your case in more detail with a divorce lawyer in Fort Collins today.

Will Remarriage Affect My Child Support Obligation?

Posted in Divorce on June 9, 2021

Finding new love after a divorce can make it easy to overlook how a remarriage might affect a divorce decree from a past relationship. If one or both parties plan on getting remarried, however, they must understand how this might affect parts of the divorce order, including either party’s financial obligations.

Before you start a new chapter of life, consult with a divorce lawyer in Colorado to understand exactly how this may impact your child support obligation.

Most Remarriages Do Not Affect Child Support

For the most part, getting remarried will not affect a child support obligation. In Colorado, the courts do not take a stepparent’s income into account when determining child support. Thus, the custodial parent or noncustodial parent remarrying will have no effect on a child support arrangement from a previous marriage.

There is an exception, however, if the new spouse pays his or her partner money each month that would be part of that spouse’s income. In this rare circumstance, the child support obligation may change, as the parent’s income has increased. This will only apply if the money given counts as the spouse’s income – not if the new spouse spends money on a mortgage, groceries or household expenses.

What About Stepchildren or New Children?

If the party’s remarriage means he or she will become a stepparent, or if the new couple has children together (by birth or adoption), this also will not affect a child support obligation from a past marriage. The courts in Colorado do not allow the addition of new children to interfere with the financial support given to existing children. It will be the parent’s responsibility to keep up with the costs of the new child in addition to fulfilling an existing child support order.

Do You Need to Modify Your Child Support Order?

If you experience a significant change in your financial situation, this is grounds to request a child support order modification. A modification asks the courts to change your child support obligation based on your new income or change in circumstance. If you lose your job, for example, or get demoted, you may be able to request a modification to reduce your child support payments.

Only certain changes in circumstance will be accepted for child support modifications. The most common is a change in financial circumstance, such as a large raise or job loss. The courts may also modify a child support order if the child’s needs change, such as after a serious medical diagnosis.

A judge will only grant a child support order modification request if the paying parent can prove a significant change in circumstance that is outside of his or her control. If the judge discovers that the parent quit his or her job or took a lower-paying job on purpose to reduce a child support obligation, the judge can deny the request and impose further financial penalties.

How to Modify a Child Support Order in Fort Collins

If you wish to modify your child support order in Colorado, you must file a motion with the county court clerk’s office. You can find the necessary paperwork online or by contacting the county clerk’s office. You will need to explain your reason for requesting the modification and provide evidence of your change in circumstance.

You and your ex-spouse will then have to attend a hearing before a judge, where you will explain why the support order should be modified. Your ex will have the chance to argue why it should remain the same, if desired. If the judge rules in your favor, the modification will go into effect immediately.

Do not stop paying your child support obligation if you remarry, lose your job or experience another change in circumstance. Nothing gives you the legal right to change your payments except for a court order. If you need professional assistance requesting a child support modification, contact an attorney in Fort Collins today.

The Most Common Financial Mistakes People Make During Divorce

Posted in Divorce on June 7, 2021

It can be difficult to protect yourself emotionally and financially during a complicated divorce case in Colorado. However, there are steps you can take to improve the outcome of your divorce and make the process as stress-free as possible. Avoiding several common financial mistakes can allow you to prevent issues that could significantly hurt your case. A divorce lawyer in Fort Collins can help you protect your financial security during the legal process.

Living on Your Old Budget

It can be difficult to adapt to a new, single budget after your separation or divorce. You may be used to a certain standard of living that you enjoyed during your marriage. It is important for your future financial stability, however, to create a new budget with your new income.

Write down all of your expenses and create a monthly budget with only your income. Don’t forget expenses such as credit card and debt payments, rent if you have moved out of the family home, and other expenses that your spouse used to share with you. Creating a budget can allow you to maintain your current quality of life and avoid going into significant debt during your divorce.

Forgetting Assets

Your divorce paperwork will ask you to create a comprehensive list of all of your assets, property and sources of income. It is important not to omit any assets, as this could get you into legal trouble. You are legally obligated to disclose all of your assets, including properties, cars, collectibles, jewelry, family heirlooms, furniture and more. Failing to do so could be seen as an attempt to hide assets.

It is also important not to forget any assets when you are creating a property division settlement with your ex-spouse. This is something an attorney can help you with, as a lack of legal knowledge is a common reason why many people fail to negotiate for assets that they legally have a right to. A lawyer can explain Colorado’s equitable property division law to make sure your settlement distributes your assets fairly.

Being Emotionally Attached to Your Home

It is normal to have an emotional attachment to your family home, especially if children are involved. If keeping your home is not financially in your best interests, however, it is important to move on. You may not be able to afford the mortgage and upkeep of the home on your own, or you may have to give up too many other assets to do so. Keep this in mind if your attorney recommends selling the family home. Do not let your emotional attachment get in the way of what is best for you and your family financially.

Failing to See the Big Picture

Many people get so caught up in the details of property division during a divorce case that they forget to look at the big picture or their future financial stability. You may forget to take important issues such as taxes, inflation, losses and gains, and your long-term financial needs into account if you are focused only on dividing your marital assets piece by piece. A lawyer can help understand all of the financial aspects of your divorce.

Representing Yourself

A divorce lawyer in Colorado will have the knowledge and experience to fully protect you financially during your divorce case. Your lawyer will understand the property division laws in your state and how to successfully navigate them for the best possible results. Your lawyer can also help you and your spouse come to a settlement agreement, allowing you to stay in control of property division.

Finally, a lawyer can help you avoid common financial mistakes that many people make during divorce cases in Colorado. A lawyer can save you from jeopardizing your financial future. Contact an attorney in Fort Collins today for more information.

What Is a Preliminary Injunction in Divorce Cases in Colorado?

Posted in Divorce on June 3, 2021

A preliminary injunction is something you will encounter if you receive a summons for a divorce action in Colorado. It is a legal order not to do certain things, such as destroy property that belongs to your ex-spouse or spend large sums of money from a joint account, until the dissolution of your marriage or another court order ends the injunction. Learn more about preliminary injunctions to avoid doing something that could get you into legal trouble during a divorce case in Colorado.

What Is a Preliminary Injunction?

Emotions can run high during a divorce. One or both parties may be inclined to do something rash to take out their anger or frustration, such as destroy property that belongs to the other person. In an effort to make sure nothing substantial happens that could change the financial situation of one or both parties, the courts automatically make an order during a divorce case called a preliminary injunction.

A preliminary injunction aims to protect the status quo of each spouse before a divorce. It is a temporary order that will only last as long as your divorce case unless another order of the court says otherwise. It automatically goes into effect in every Colorado divorce case once the summons has been served. The language of a preliminary injunction can be found in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-107(b)(l).

What Are the Terms of a Preliminary Injunction?

The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to require both parties to maintain the financial state they were in during their marriage as much as possible during a pending divorce. It is meant to prevent drastic financial changes that could negatively impact property division – especially changes made intentionally by one spouse to harm or inconvenience the other. A preliminary injunction in Colorado automatically sets the following restrictions:

  • Neither party may dispose of any marital property without the consent of the other party or an order from the court. This includes transferring, encumbering, concealing or destroying the property. There are exceptions for the usual course of business or the necessities of life.
  • Neither party may engage in extraordinary expenditures without notifying the other party of the intent to do so. The party must also give a detailed account to the court of all extraordinary expenditures made after the preliminary injunction is in effect.
  • Neither party may disturb the peace of the other party. This can mean many different things, but it generally prohibits interfering with the other party’s life or causing undue stress or irritation.
  • Neither party may move minor shared children out of the state without the consent of the other party or an order of the court.
  • Neither party may cancel, terminate, modify or stop paying for an insurance policy that provides coverage to either of the parties or minor children, or a life insurance policy that names any of the parties or children as beneficiaries.

If the terms and parameters of the injunction are unclear, discuss them in more detail with a divorce attorney in Colorado. If you believe your spouse may engage in any of these actions, serve the divorce summons sooner rather than later. If your spouse has begun any of these actions, he or she must cease when the injunction goes into effect.

What Happens If You Breach a Preliminary Injunction?

Going against a preliminary injunction by dissipating marital assets is against the law in Colorado. Family court judges do not take these infractions lightly, as they can interfere with the equitable distribution of a couple’s assets. If someone breaches the terms of this temporary injunction in Colorado, that person may be held in contempt of court. This can result in penalties such as fines and jail time.

For more information about a preliminary injunction in a divorce case, contact a divorce attorney in Fort Collins.