THE REPRESENTATION YOU NEED IN ORDER TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
You may not think something as trivial as social media could make an impact on a legal process such as a divorce claim. In law, however, social media activity can become evidence. What you post on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook could be used against you during a divorce case. It can be critical to the success of your case, therefore, to stay off social media until your divorce has been finalized.
What Content On Social Media Could Hurt Your Divorce Claim?
What you believe is harmless social media activity may be anything but. During a divorce case, your spouse’s defense counsel can search through all of your social media accounts – including those with strict privacy settings – for evidence to use against you. An attorney can twist almost anything you say or post against you during a divorce case.
It is wise to keep any new developments in your love life quiet until the completion of your divorce case. Updating your status to “In a Relationship” with another person could negatively affect your ongoing divorce. For example, your ex-spouse may be able to argue against giving you custody by showing that you are already introducing your child to a new person.
Photos of New (Expensive) Purchases
Don’t post any photos, videos or information about new purchases you made while going through a divorce case. This could be portrayed as you trying to reduce your financial assets in preparation for a divorce. Frivolous spending – such as on a new TV, car or boat – could also work against you if you wish to file a claim for spousal support.
Jokes or Threats About Hiding Assets
Never make light about hiding assets on social media (or off of social media). This is a serious crime during a divorce case. Even if you were only making a joke and weren’t actually going to hide assets from your ex, the courts will take it as a reason to investigate your financial status further. Whether or not the courts find any hidden assets, indulging in these jokes can position the courts against you.
Badmouthing Your Spouse Online
The courts will look at many factors when deciding something as important as child custody – including your social media activity. If you have several posts or comments badmouthing or threatening your spouse, this could impact your claim to custody if a judge thinks your behaviors or attitude could have a negative effect on your child.
Photos of You Enjoying Yourself
If part of your divorce involves allegations of domestic violence or abuse, photographs posted on social media where you are partying or celebrating could hurt your case. Your goal will be to prove that your spouse caused you emotional distress – something that will be harder to do with photos posted online of you enjoying yourself.
How to Use Social Media Wisely During Your Divorce
Your spouse’s attorney will be able to use almost anything you post online to hurt your case. Even if you think you’re being careful online, it can surprise you what a lawyer can twist around and use to portray you as an unfaithful, dishonest, unreliable or even violent person. The best way to keep yourself safe is by staying off social media entirely.
If you must use social media during an ongoing divorce case, remain discreet. Do not post any direct status updates or comments, especially about your divorce or your activities. Do not check-in to different locations or let your whereabouts be known. Do not post any images or videos online that reveal anything about your life. Tell your friends not to tag you in these types of posts, either. Never discuss your divorce with anyone online, even in private messages.
Before you delete old social media content during a divorce proceeding, consult with a divorce attorney. Even deleting things could make you look suspicious to a judge. Work with an experienced attorney to understand what to do and what not to do on social media during a divorce case in Colorado to fully protect your rights. A lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes.
Posted in Divorce on January 14, 2021
Divorce isn’t always mutual. In some cases, one spouse wants a divorce while the other refuses to cooperate. In Colorado, you can still get a divorce even if your spouse won’t sign the papers. If your spouse is in denial, however, you may have to deal with additional complications that delay the process. One of them is your spouse evading the service of the divorce papers.
About Colorado’s Required Service of the Divorce Papers
To file for divorce in Larimer County, you must submit the proper paperwork to the correct family court and pay the $230 filing fee. After filing, it will be your responsibility to arrange the service of the divorce papers on your spouse, who will become the respondent.
Serving the divorce papers means giving them or sending them to your spouse. This gives your spouse the opportunity to read over the papers and file a response. In Colorado, you must serve your spouse with a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage and the Summons. A summons is usually an order to appear in court; in divorce law, however, the summons gives the respondent 21 days to file a response.
If your spouse doesn’t respond, the courts can proceed with an uncontested divorce after 91 days have passed since the summons. Your spouse will forfeit the right to contest, or argue, the terms of the divorce without a response. If your spouse does respond, you can enter into negotiations to reach a settlement. If you cannot locate your spouse to serve the divorce papers, you will have to take other steps before you can proceed with your case.
Locating Your Spouse
In Colorado, you cannot continue your divorce case until your spouse has been served with the petition and summons. First, try to serve the papers yourself if you know where your spouse has been living. If this works, simply give your spouse the divorce papers and an Acceptance of Service Form. Your spouse will sign this form in front of a notary to prove that you served him or her with the documents.
If you cannot find your spouse or do not wish to serve the papers yourself, you can have someone from the Larimer County court system do so for you. In most cases, the sheriff or constable in your county will step in to serve the divorce papers on your spouse. This service could take two or three weeks.
If your spouse continues to evade the service and the sheriff cannot locate him or her, the next step is hiring a private party to serve the papers. The courts may appoint a professional process server on your behalf, or you can locate a private party through a family attorney. This party is usually a private investigator who will have the resources to try to locate your spouse.
Working Around the Service Requirement Through Publication
In a situation where you, the sheriff and a private investigator have failed to locate your spouse, the courts in Colorado will allow you to use service by publication instead. This is a last resort only to be used when you can show you made sufficient efforts to locate your spouse but could not. You must obtain permission from the family court judge to use this method.
Service by publication means you will need to publish a notice of the divorce summons in one or two local papers each week for three or four consecutive weeks. A judge will give you the exact directions to follow to serve your spouse by publication. Once you have fulfilled this requirement and submitted notarized statements from the newspapers confirming the notice was published, a judge will continue with your divorce case with or without cooperation from your spouse.
If your spouse is evading service of the divorce papers, consult with a divorce attorney in Fort Collins for assistance with the serving process. A lawyer can help you take all of the necessary steps to proceed with your divorce.
Posted in Divorce on December 16, 2020
Divorce is a complicated process for any couple with children in Colorado, even under normal circumstances. When a child of the marriage has special needs, divorce can come with even more challenges. It is possible to get a divorce as the parent of a child with special needs with minimal financial and emotional stress. Overcoming the obstacles of your particular divorce case in Fort Collins may require assistance from a Fort Collins divorce attorney.
Custody Concerns When a Child Has Special Needs
The greatest concern for parents in a divorce case is usually child custody. You and your spouse have the chance to work out a custody arrangement between yourselves before the matter will go to a judge. All couples in Colorado have the opportunity to reach a settlement on custody, child visitation, child support and other matters before a judge intervenes. When it comes to dividing custody of a child with special needs, everyone involved will have to consider unique factors.
- If your child can mentally and emotionally handle sharing time between two households. Children with special needs are often highly sensitive to change and need stability.
- If it is safe for your child to go back and forth between two households, as well as how you plan on handling transportation.
- Whether your child has a nurse or caregiver that will need to accompany him or her to each household.
- How knowledgeable each parent is about the needs of the child and childcare, including how involved each parent has been with necessary services.
- How much time each parent will have to dedicate to caring for a child with special needs after the divorce.
You can increase your chances of working together with your ex on a custody agreement that works for the whole family by hiring a custody attorney. An attorney will understand Colorado’s divorce laws that apply to your specific situation and how best to navigate them. Your lawyer can oversee meetings and mediation with your ex to facilitate communication and compromises. If your divorce case does end up going to trial, your lawyer can represent you and your child’s best interests before a judge.
Special Needs Children and Child Support
The courts in Colorado will most likely need to deviate from the standard child support chart when determining financial matters for a child with special needs. It will be up to you or your attorney to document all of the expenses related to caring for your child special needs and to negotiate for a fair support award. You will need to consider factors such as your child’s current needs, future needs and whether you qualify for public benefits.
How long the paying spouse will have the child support obligation is also different when a child has special needs. While in most cases, a child support order ends when a child turns 18, this is generally not the case when a child has special needs. If the child with special needs will be dependent on the caregiving parent longer than the age of 18 or for life, the courts will extend the other parent’s child support obligation. The amount of child support may fluctuate based on the child’s changing needs and factors such as eligibility for Supplemental Security Income benefits at the age of 18.
Spousal Support Payments
In many cases, the spouse with primary custody of a child with special needs will have to make changes to his or her work-life balance after a divorce. The parent may have to quit his or her job or switch to part-time instead of full-time work. This will lead to a greater need for spousal support or alimony from the noncustodial spouse.
If one parent has to earn less to take on more parenting time with a child with special needs, the other parent may have to pay spousal support to make up for the loss of income. The amount awarded in spousal maintenance will depend on factors such as how much both parents earn, the custody arrangement and the length of the marriage.
For assistance with all aspects of your divorce with a child with special needs, contact an attorney to discuss your particular case.
Posted in Divorce on December 11, 2020
No one plans on getting divorced when they get married and start a family business together. If the marriage does end, issues related to the family business can lead to a complicated legal battle. You may not know how to divide your business or its assets fairly or how to prevent a judge from intervening. Use this information to successfully navigate your divorce with a family business.
How Does Colorado Divide Assets During a Divorce?
Part of how you will divide a family business is how the state handles property division in a dissolution of marriage. Colorado is not a community property state, but a marital property state. If a divorce case in Colorado goes to trial, a judge will divide property acquired during a marriage equitably. While this almost always means equally, an unequal split is possible if a judge deems it fair for both parties.
When dividing assets, a court will only touch marital property. This is property obtained together during the course of the marriage. It does not apply to a business purchased separately, brought into the marriage by one spouse, or given to or inherited by one spouse. All couples in Colorado can agree to a different property division scenario before a judge will intervene.
Who Gets to Keep the Family Business?
When it comes to dividing the family business, you and your spouse can either work together or go to trial. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it may come into play. Otherwise, you and your spouse have the chance to work together to compromise on a solution that works for both of you. Many different options are available.
- One of you keeps the business. One spouse can keep the family business for him or herself after a divorce. The person who retains the business, however, will need to give the other financial compensation for the full value of his or her financial interest in the company.
- Both of you keep the business. You can agree to continue maintaining the family business together. If either spouse decides to get out later, the remaining spouse has the right to purchase the other spouse’s share of the business.
- Neither of you. You can decide to sell the business at its current market value and divide the profits between you, meaning neither person gets to keep the family business. This might be the right choice if you both desire a clean break.
- You create a trust. If you wish to protect the assets from a family business to give to a child, you can create a generational wealth trust. With this type of trust, your family can pass money from a family business to future generations, allowing it to grow and protecting it from taxes.
The best option for you and your business will depend on the circumstances. Working together with your spouse is the most effective way to remain in control of what happens to a jointly owned business. Increase your chances of a successful settlement by hiring a divorce lawyer.
A Lawyer Can Help
Dividing a business is a complex matter. You and your spouse will need to analyze your ownership structure, look at the interests you both have vested in the family business and understand the current value of the company. You will also need to think about how you plan on protecting your family’s business interests, including your child’s inheritance.
Having a family business can make divorce more complicated. If you and your spouse are having trouble working together on the right solution, an attorney can guide you through the process of mediation. This out-of-court process could help you compromise on a settlement and avoid going to trial. A Colorado family law attorney can accurately valuate the business of your company, help you with property division and represent you if the case goes to trial.
Posted in Divorce on November 23, 2020
It may come as a surprise to receive a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time in Fort Collins. You might never have expected your ex-spouse to take you to court to try to reduce the time spent with your child. If you have been served with this type of legal document in Colorado, read it immediately. Then, contact a Fort Collins divorce lawyer as soon as possible to respond to the motion promptly and correctly.
What Is a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time?
A Motion to Restrict Parenting Time is a legal document submitted to a family court judge to adjust an existing parenting time arrangement. There must already be a custody order in place for a parent to file a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time. The person filing will become the moving party. A parent may only file this type of request in Colorado if he or she has proper cause.
A new issue or circumstance must have arisen since the judge approved the initial parenting time order. According to Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-129(4), the only reason a judge will grant a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time is if the moving party can prove that the child is an imminent physical or emotional danger. Restricting parenting time is a drastic step that a judge will only allow if he or she believes it is in the best interest of the child.
How Should You Respond to This Motion?
If you receive a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time in Colorado, read it completely. It is important to understand exactly what your ex-spouse is asking a judge to do. Make a note of the time and date of your scheduled hearing, as well. You do not want to miss your hearing. Then, take the motion to a child custody lawyer in Fort Collins for a full review of the paperwork and answers to your legal questions. You and your lawyer will decide how to respond.
You have three choices in responding to a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time. If you do not wish to fight the change, you can do nothing. The judge will alter parenting time without giving you a say in the matter, in this case. If you do wish to defend against a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time, file a written response and participate in the hearing. Your third option is attending the hearing without filing a written response; however, it is wise to file a written response first so a judge has the opportunity to understand your position.
You have a deadline to respond to a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time. Do not delay, as this could put you at risk of the motion proceeding without your input. You must file a written response to this type of motion at least three days before your scheduled hearing date. You must also either hand your ex-spouse your written response three days before the hearing or mail it at least five days before.
Defend Your Parental Rights With Help From a Lawyer
Even if a judge granted a temporary restriction of your parenting time, it is common for the judge to deny the request at the actual hearing. You will have the opportunity to defend yourself ahead of a ruling. Hire an attorney to defend your rights. Legal representation is the best way to improve the likelihood of a successful defense.
Your lawyer can help you prove that the motion has no merit and that your ex-spouse only filed it out of spite, for example, or establish that the child is safe and properly cared for with you. If you are successful with your defense, you can also file a request to make your ex pay for your legal fees and attorney’s costs. A lawyer can help you present evidence and build a strong case in your defense to protect your parenting time in Colorado.
It is not unusual for one spouse to want to move away for a fresh start after a divorce in Colorado. When children are involved, however, moving away is complicated. Every citizen has the right to travel freely. You may have legal recourse as the noncustodial parent, however, if the move will negatively affect your child or infringe upon your custodial rights.
The Basics of Child Relocation After a Divorce
When determining all matters involving children, the courts in Colorado will do what is in the child’s best interests. This is the case for child support, child custody and child relocation. When a custodial parent wants to move out of the state with a child after a divorce, the courts will consider whether or not the move is in the child’s best interest. If the child has established roots in his or her community, with deep ties to school, church, family and friends, the noncustodial parent may have a case to require the custodial parent to stay in the state.
The courts will assess many factors when deciding whether or not a parent can leave the state with a child. A judge will look at the reason for the proposed move and your reason for objecting to the move, as well as the relationship between each parent and the child, whether the child will have family in the proposed location, whether it will be possible for you to have parenting time after the move, what impact the move will have on the child, and any other factors related to the child’s wellbeing.
In general, the Colorado courts prefer both parents to work together to make relocation work. A judge will typically sign off on a parenting plan or agreement created by a child’s parents. If this is not possible and the child relocation matter goes to court, a judge will try to balance each parent’s rights with the best interests of the child. A judge may or may not allow a custodial parent to leave the state with a child, depending on the circumstances.
What Can You Do to Prevent Your Ex From Leaving the State With Your Child?
You may have legal options if you do not want your ex to leave the state with your child. First, review your custody plan. If a judge gave you and your ex-spouse joint custody in the divorce, it is generally best for both parents to live near each other to carry out the terms of the custody agreement.
With a joint custody arrangement, you and your ex will have an equal say in where the child lives, as well as major decisions such as education, religion and health care. Although sharing custody can work long-distance, it is more difficult. If it will be so difficult that it infringes upon your rights or goes against what is best for your child, a judge may order your ex to stay within state lines.
Next, determine whether your ex-spouse fulfilled the requirements for moving out of state with a child. In Colorado, the custodial parent has to give written notice of a plan to move to the noncustodial parent. This plan must identify the reason for the move, the new location and a proposal for a new custody plan. As the noncustodial parent, you will then have the chance to negotiate a custody or visitation agreement with your ex.
You also have the right to file an objection to the move and to request a hearing to adjust your custody arrangement. You will go to court to try to prevent your ex from moving out of the state. You can use arguments such as your ex not having a valid reason for the move or the move taking a toll on your child’s emotional health. A judge may rule in your favor and stop the relocation if he or she believes moving out of state would negatively impact the child’s wellbeing. Work with an attorney for assistance with child relocation in Colorado for the best possible outcome.
Posted in Divorce on November 18, 2020
Property division is one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce case in Colorado. A lot of couples have complex assets, such as financial investments, retirement accounts, and stocks and bonds. Finding out how the courts may divide financial investments in a divorce could encourage you to work together with your spouse on a settlement agreement. If a settlement is not possible, prepare for the trial process by understanding how the courts may divide your financial investments.
Colorado Is an Equitable Distribution State
Colorado’s property division rules are complex. It is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. During a divorce case in Colorado, all marital property is divided in a manner that is fair, or equitable. This does not necessarily mean equally. While one couple may have a 50/50 split, another may not. The courts will only touch marital property during a divorce, however. Separate properties will remain with their respective owners.
Marital property is anything acquired during a marriage other than gifts and inheritance. It can also describe property that used to be separate but that the couple commingled after the marriage, such as a joint bank account. Marital property is subject to division in a divorce court in Colorado. Anything owned by a spouse prior to the marriage, however, is separate property and safe from division. The courts will divide all marital property based on what is fair for the couple.
Property Division and Financial Investments
Dividing financial investments is tricky. The first step will be to determine if the investment is separate or marital property. Contrary to popular belief, a retirement account is not separate property. A 401(k), pension plan, Roth IRA or another type of retirement account is marital property if it was created or added to during the marriage. Either part or all of the retirement account will be subject to division. Social Security benefits, however, are not subject to division.
For the most part, a judge in Colorado will divide financial investments much like other types of property in a divorce case. The judge will analyze each spouse’s financial contributions to the marriage, as well as each person’s current financial situation. Then, the judge will divide all marital property, including financial investments, in a way that is fair between the couple. This is often a half-and-half split. If one spouse had the financial investment prior to the marriage, however, only the portion acquired during the marriage may be subject to division. The spouse may be able to keep what he or she earned prior to the marriage.
A common complication when dividing financial investments is the appreciation of its value. In general, if an investment appreciated during the marriage, both parties will divide the profit. A common exception, however, is if one spouse acquired the asset prior to marriage but the appreciation occurred while married. In this case, it will be up to a judge on how to divide the earnings. If dividing an investment that will not have a return until much later, such as a retirement account, the couple can either wait until the benefits are paid and split them or discount one spouse’s share to its present value and have the other spouse pay it out.
Reach a Settlement With Help From an Attorney
It is important to work with an attorney on a complicated property division matter. It may be possible to avoid the court’s way of dividing financial investments during a divorce if you can achieve a settlement agreement with your spouse. In general, a judge will sign off on the paperwork if you and your spouse can agree on how to divide property, assets and debts. This can help you avoid a trial. Work with a divorce attorney in Fort Collins to improve your chances of settling. Your lawyer can facilitate communication and compromises with your spouse during mediation or arbitration. Speak to an attorney today about dividing your financial investments during a divorce.
Posted in Divorce on October 21, 2020
The division of property is one of the main issues during a divorce case in Colorado. Colorado is an equitable distribution divorce state. It uses a common law doctrine rather than one based on the laws of community property. Instead of dividing property 50/50 in a divorce case, the Colorado courts will divide marital property, assets and debts in a way that is equitable, or fair, based on the factors of the unique case. Understanding what the courts consider marital property versus separate property can help you know what to expect in terms of property division during a divorce in Colorado.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
During a divorce in Colorado, the courts will only have the jurisdiction to divide marital property. The courts cannot touch a spouse’s separate property. The difference between the two is when the spouse acquired the property. Anything you owned before your marriage will remain separate property, unless you commingled the asset during the marriage. If you combined your bank accounts into a joint account with your spouse, for example, you commingled this asset and turned your separate property into marital property. If you do not commingle separate property, your previously owned assets will remain separate property.
- Homes or real estate
- Bank accounts
- Retirement savings
- Stocks and bonds
- Art and other valuables
- Debts, including student loans
Under Colorado law, gifts and inheritance given specifically to an individual will remain separate property. If a relative of yours died and gave you an inheritance, for instance, this inheritance will remain your separate property. Your spouse will not have a claim to your inheritance or a gift given to you, even if you were married at the time of its receipt.
It can be difficult to draw the line between marital property and separate property during a divorce case, especially if you have been married to your spouse for many years. You may need to hire an attorney, an accountant or another type of professional to analyze your property and organize it into categories during a divorce case.
How Do the Courts Divide Marital Property in Colorado?
You will only need to focus on marital property during a divorce case in Colorado. You do not have to share your separate property with your spouse after a divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you make a list of each type of marital property you and your spouse own together. Then, you can either work together with your spouse to divide the property yourselves (achieve a divorce settlement) or take your case to court.
If you cannot agree with your spouse on how to divide property and handle the rest of your divorce case, including child custody and spousal maintenance, these issues will go before a judge. Under Colorado’s equitable distribution law, a judge will divide property based on what he or she deems fair for the situation rather than splitting it down the middle. In general, the higher-earning spouse in the marriage will receive a larger portion of the marital property than the lower-earning spouse. To make up for the earning disparity, the courts may award the lower-earning spouse child support and/or alimony.
A judge will consider many factors when determining how to divide marital property. These include the length of the marriage, the number of assets owned, how much each spouse brought into the marriage, how much each spouse contributed to the marital assets and debts during the union, the depreciation or appreciation of each spouse’s separately owned assets during the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse after the divorce. If you need assistance creating a property division settlement with your ex-spouse – or going up against your ex at trial – contact a divorce lawyer in Colorado.
A marriage should be entered into by two people who have all of the information they need to make an informed decision about the union. Unfortunately, some people enter into marriages under misconceptions borne from deceit, misrepresentation and fraud from the other party. These marriages are invalid in the State of Colorado. If you believe fraud or false representation induced your marriage, you may be eligible for an annulment.
What Is an Annulment?
An annulment can effectively end your marriage, but it is not a divorce. It is a legal decree stating that you were never married to begin with since the marriage was not valid. With a successful annulment, your status will return to what it was before your marriage. You will not be a divorced person; rather, you will be single, as if your marriage never happened. Annulments are much less common than divorces and legal separations. Some people prefer annulment to divorce, however, for religious or personal reasons. To have your marriage annulled in Colorado, you must show you have grounds proving the invalidity of your marriage. One of these grounds is fraud.
Reasons for Annulment in Colorado
Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of facts with the purpose of deceiving someone for personal or financial gain. Fraud in marriage could refer to many misrepresentations, such as someone lying about already being married, having terminal cancer or being able to have children. False representations of age or citizenship status could also qualify as fraud. To have grounds for an annulment, the fraud must apply to an essential aspect of the marriage. Couples in Colorado can also file for annulments based on other grounds.
- Lack of consummation of marriage
- Lack of age of consent (or parent/guardian permission)
- Mental incompetence
- One or both parties agreed to the marriage as a jest or dare
- One or both parties were under duress
- The marriage is void due to polygamy, incest or other reasons
Fraud may affect the essential foundation of your marriage if your spouse tricked you into the union through a false claim. Fraud could involve false representations of potency, pregnancy, an illness, financial status, identity, citizenship, feelings or intentions. Lawfully, a person does not have to disclose certain things, such as a criminal background, to a spouse. Failure to disclose this type of information may not constitute fraud. If a spouse directly lies about something such as a criminal background, however, it may be fraud. A lawyer can help you identify fraud in your specific case.
How to Get an Annulment in Colorado
If you believe you have grounds to file for an annulment in Colorado based on fraud, speak to an attorney right away for advice. A divorce lawyer can give you the facts on annulments and review your case to see if you have the necessary elements. If so, your lawyer can represent you during an annulment case to help you prove to the courts that you entered into the marriage due to fraud. You or your lawyer will need to show that the other party was fraudulent and that this is what induced the marriage.
You will need to file annulment paperwork with the family court in your county to start the legal process. Do so as soon as possible after learning of the fraud, as a deadline will apply to your case. You will have six months from the date of learning of the grounds for annulment if you wish to base your claim on fraud, duress, mental incompetence or jest/dare. A lawyer can help you file the legal paperwork and work through related processes. If the courts accept your claim, a judge will grant the annulment and your marriage will disappear from the record. If you cannot get an annulment, you may have to file for divorce instead. Speak to an attorney for more information on annulments for fraud in Colorado.
You have multiple options for ending your marriage in Colorado. Divorce is not your only avenue. The family courts in Colorado also offer other solutions, such as legal separation. Understanding the difference between divorce, dissolution and legal separation can help you choose the right option for you.
Divorce vs. Dissolution
Divorce and dissolution of marriage are often used interchangeably. They are similar, but not exactly the same, in meaning. Both terms describe the legal termination of a marriage. Both paths will lead to a judge signing a divorce decree and lawfully ending the marriage. Technically, however, these terms differ in meaning on a legal level.
Divorce refers to enlisting the court’s help to end your marriage. A dissolution of marriage, on the other hand, is an agreement between you and your spouse on how to resolve questions such as child custody and property division, without a judge intervening. Both a successful divorce and a dissolution of marriage will end in the same outcome: an order that ends the marriage and sets rules for the split. The difference lies in how a couple comes to this conclusion.
You may be able to dissolve your marriage instead of going to court by keeping an open mind during negotiations with your ex-spouse. You will both have to agree on every detail of the marriage dissolution, including parenting time, property and debt division, child support, and alimony. A mediation lawyer may be able to help you and your ex-spouse work together to agree on everything and dissolve the marriage.
A dissolution can provide better peace of mind for you and your family while ending your marriage. It could also save your family time and money on legal proceedings. You may need to file for divorce and bring your case to the courts, however, if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on its terms. Filing for divorce means enlisting a judge’s assistance in setting orders for both parties to follow. Most couples start by attempting a dissolution of marriage. Then, if this does not work, the couple will file for divorce to terminate the marriage instead.
Legal Separation in Colorado
Divorce and dissolution both share the same outcome: termination of the marriage contract. Legal separation, however, does not end or terminate a marriage. Instead, it puts things on pause for an amount of time the couple decides. Legal separation in Colorado means that on paper, a couple is still married; however, the couple has divided their assets and are living separately.
Legal separation is a common in-between for couples who need to take action to resolve their issues but are not sure something as final as divorce is the right choice. At any point during a legal separation, the couple can decide to either reconcile and end the separation or move forward with a divorce/dissolution.
Legal separation might be the right choice if you want to separate from your spouse but remain legally married for some type of benefit. If you must remain married on paper to keep health benefits given to you by your spouse’s employer, for example, legal separation could be an effective solution. Other couples choose legal separation instead of divorce for religious reasons. If you think reconciliation is a possibility, legal separation could also be more suitable than divorce. If you get back together with your spouse, it is much easier to end a legal separation than to reverse a divorce decision or remarry.
It is important to assess all of your options for ending a marriage in Colorado. What is right for someone else might not be ideal for you. Discuss all of your options with a divorce attorney for tailored legal advice.