Colorado Divorce Attorney


Colorado Divorce Attorney

If you are heading toward divorce – or even considering the possibility of divorce – you are facing a significant transition that will significantly affect you and your children’s futures for many years to come. Working closely with an experienced divorce lawyer near you. CNL Law Firm offices are located in Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Lone Tree, Greenwood, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, and Cherry Hills. Our family law attorneys will help ensure that you obtain divorce terms that protect your rights under Colorado family law and that work for you and your children. Whether you are seeking legal separation, contested divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, or another family law matter, CNL Law Firm is here to provide you with the compassionate and skilled representation that you need.

Table of Contents

Grounds for Divorce in Colorado

Colorado has no-fault divorce laws. According to the NCFR, “no-fault divorce laws do not require a finding of the innocence or guilt of either party. Claimants can file for divorce generally on the basis of the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage or the “incompatibility” of the parties without proving one spouse is at fault“. This means that every divorce in the state may occur whether one or both spouses are unable or unwilling to cohabit and there are no chances for reconciliation, or the spouse’s wrongdoing will be factored in. This does not mean, however, that wrongdoing won’t have any effect on the terms of your Colorado divorce.

For example, if your spouse’s affair ends up dissipating marital funds, it can directly affect how the court divides your marital assets between you. Additionally, wrongdoing could conceivably affect your child custody arrangements. The court bases its child custody determinations on the best interests of the children involved, and your spouse’s wrongdoing – for example – can affect this balance.

Residency Requirements for a Divorce in Colorado

In Colorado, there are specific residency requirements that apply before you can pursue a divorce in the state. These include:

  1. As specified by Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-106 (1)(a)(I), you or your divorcing spouse must have lived in the state for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce.
  2. If your divorce involves shared children, they must have lived with at least one of you for at least 182 days (six months) in Colorado prior to filing.
  3. If one of the children involved is not yet six months old, he or she must have lived in the state with at least one of you since birth.

While a marital settlement agreement can expedite the divorce process, these residency requirements hold when children are involved.

The Terms of Your Divorce in Colorado

Before you can obtain a divorce in the State of Colorado, you will need to address each of the terms of the divorce that apply to your situation. These include all the following:

  1. Your child custody arrangements
  2. Child support
  3. The division of your marital property
  4. Alimony

If you and your divorcing spouse are able to resolve these terms between yourselves – with the guidance of your respective Aurora divorce attorneys – you will not require the court’s intervention. If any terms remain unresolved, however, your divorce case will need to proceed to court before it can be finalized.

Your Child Custody Arrangements in a Divorce

If your divorce involves children, your children’s ongoing health, happiness, and well-being are likely your primary concern. The State of Colorado addresses child custody in terms of parental responsibilities and parental decision-making responsibilities.

Divorce is hard on everyone, but because children don’t have the maturity to effectively process this drastic change in their lives, it is often hardest on them. Your custody arrangements are obviously critical, and while these arrangements can vary, the basics typically include:

Parental Responsibilities (physical custody)

Parental responsibilities determine the schedule by which you and your children’s other parent will divide your time with your shared children. Colorado courts base every parenting decision on the best interests of the children involved, and this generally means maximizing – to the extent possible – the amount of time they spend with both parents. When, however, one parent has fewer than 90 overnights with the children per year, the other parent is identified as having primary parental responsibility.

Parental Decision-Making Responsibilities (legal custody)

Parental decision-making responsibilities determine if you and your children’s other parent will make primary parenting decisions together or if one of you will shoulder the responsibility on your own. The kinds of decisions involved include:

  1. Both parents share legal custody, which means that both of you will share the parental right and responsibility of making important decisions on behalf of your children. These decisions generally focus on issues related to your children’s health care, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities.
  2. Both parents share physical custody, but one parent becomes the primary custodial parent, which means the children live primarily with that parent in that parent’s home.
  3. The other parent has a visitation schedule with the children.

If you and your divorcing spouse can’t agree on child custody arrangements that you can both agree to, the court will do so on your behalf. While the children’s best interests are always the court’s focus, the judge involved naturally doesn’t know your children and their specific needs the way you, as their parents, do. The best divorce lawyer for you will help you explore all your options and attempt to find a middle ground (mediation is an option) if child custody becomes a sticking point.

Child Support

Both parents are charged with sharing the responsibility of financially supporting their children, and child support is the legal mechanism for leveling the financial playing field in this respect. The parent who has primary physical custody is generally considered to be in fulfillment of his or her financial responsibility – by providing for the children on a daily basis. As such, the parent with the visitation schedule typically pays child support to the other parent. The amount of child support paid is based on state child support calculation guidelines.

Divorce and The Division of Marital Property

After child custody arrangements, the division of marital property is typically the next most hotly contested component of divorce. Your marital property is that property that you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple. If the asset was purchased – or the debt was acquired – during the course of your marriage, it usually qualifies as marital property. This is regardless of who made the purchase or signed the lease in the first place. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. If the property was an inheritance or gift in your name alone, for example, that property remains your separate property. In Colorado, marital property is divided in a manner that is deemed equitable, which means in a manner that is fair under the circumstances involved – rather than being divided straight down the middle.

Some of the factors that the court takes into consideration in the division of marital assets include the following:

Spousal Support or Alimony

Spousal support refers to what you may think of as alimony, and while it isn’t a component of most divorces, it does play an important financial role in some. If one of you has financial needs as you move forward into your post-divorce life and the other of you has the financial means to assuage that need, the court may deem spousal support appropriate. A wide range of factors is considered in the allocation of spousal support, including:

  1. Each of your separate financial resources
  2. The lifestyle you achieved during the course of your marriage
  3. The distribution of your marital property
  4. Your incomes and personal employability (and employability reasonably obtainable via additional education and/or training)
  5. The length of your marriage
  6. The relative overall health and age of each of you
  7. If either of you significantly contributed to the other’s advancement (supporting the family while your spouse attends graduate school, for example)
  8. The recipient’s earning potential and the payor’s ability to pay

Finding The Best Divorce Attorney in Aurora

You might know there are many benefits of having a divorce lawyer, but how do you know which one is the best divorce lawyer for you?

Seek Recommendations

Do you have a friend or relative who recently got divorced and loved their attorney? This is a great place to start. However, be wary of recommendations from those who have not been through the process themselves. If someone recommends a lawyer who mostly handles criminal or injury cases and not family law cases, this is likely not the right choice for your divorce case. Make sure to have someone who is experienced in family law matters as this would be beneficial to you.

Consider Your Circumstances

Think about how you and your spouse interact and what you expect to happen in your divorce. Is the split amicable, and do you think you cooperate to resolve everything? If so, you do not need an aggressive divorce litigator who generally fights battles in court. On the other hand, if you suspect you might not agree on one or more issues, always hire someone with litigation experience.

If you have significant wealth, complex assets, or other issues that might complicate your case, make sure your attorney has experience with similar issues.

Meet With an Attorney

Always have a consultation with a lawyer – or more than one – to get a feel for how they communicate and work. You can ask any questions you have about the process and the lawyer’s approach, and better determine whether someone is a good fit for you and your situation. Experienced Denver divorce attorneys (Denver, CO) and Aurora divorce attorneys who represent a well-known family law firm will be a good start for any divorce procedure.

Contact An Experienced Aurora Divorce Attorney Near You

If you’re going through a divorce, you and your family are going through a difficult time, but the Aurora divorce lawyers at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, are dedicated with the experience, resources, and compassion to help you move forward with greater confidence. You are looking for the best Aurora Colorado divorce attorney on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (720) 370-2171 for more information today.


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