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Family Law Attorney Highlands Ranch

Family law in Highlands Ranch includes divorce but goes well beyond matters related to divorce and the terms of the divorce case. Family lawyers also assist with post-divorce modifications, child custody, and child support between couples who were never married, as well as other complex matters. If you are facing a legal issue that directly affects your family, an experienced family law attorney in Highlands Ranch can help.

Family Law Attorneys’ Concerns

In addition to divorce basics, family law attorneys handle cases in all the following areas:

Each deserves a closer look.

The Terms of Divorce Case in Highlands Ranch

No two divorces are ever identical to one another, but all divorces address the same terms in the Highlands Ranch area.

The Division of Marital Property

Those assets in Highlands Ranch that you acquire as a married couple – regardless of who makes the purchase or whose name is attached – are considered marital property in the eyes of the family law. Upon legal separation, these assets must be divided between you in a manner that is considered fair under the circumstances that apply – or equitable – as opposed to equal.

Any assets that either of you owned prior to marriage and that you kept scrupulously separate throughout the marriage will remain the property of the original owner, but maintaining an asset’s separate nature can prove very difficult over the course of a marriage. The division of marital property in Highlands Ranch tends to be one of the most complicated and contentious divorce concerns.

Child Custody

In Colorado, child custody is addressed in terms of parental responsibilities and parenting time, which translate to what you may think of as legal child custody cases and visitation, respectively. Parental responsibilities dictate who will be making the major parenting decisions that guide your children’s lives moving forward, including decisions about the following:

  • Your children’s schooling
  • Your children’s health care
  • Your children’s travel and participation in extracurricular activities
  • Your children’s religious upbringing

You and your ex can negotiate these decisions between yourselves with the help of child custody lawyers, but one of you may be granted the authority to break a tie in those instances when your good faith efforts to reach a consensus failed. Other options include:

  • Splitting the decision-making responsibilities between you according to the kind of decision that needs to be made
  • One of you taking on sole parental responsibility and making the decisions on your own

For issues that are more workaday and in emergency situations, the available parent is called upon to make the necessary decisions.

Parenting time determines how you and your children’s other parent will split your time with the kids. While your schedule may look very different from other divorced parents, it will fall into one of two categories that include either one parent becoming the primary custodial parent or both of you sharing parenting time more evenly.

Child Support

Child support in Colorado is calculated in accordance with the state’s guidelines. While many factors are considered in this family law determination, the primary concerns for child support are how much time each parent spends with the children and each parent’s earnings. Generally, the parent who has higher earnings has the child support responsibility in Highlands Ranch.

Highlands Ranch Alimony (Spousal Support)

Alimony is termed spousal support in Highlands Ranch, CO, and it is turned to in those situations in which one spouse is left unable to support himself or herself financially upon divorce while the other has the ability to help correct the financial discrepancy. Alimony is typically awarded for an amount and duration that allows the recipient to become more financially independent.

Any of the terms of divorce – other than the equitable division of marital property – can be addressed as post-divorce papers modifications if the supporting facts have changed significantly enough to warrant such a change. Further, parents who were never married often need to address child custody and child support terms outside the confines of divorce. A divorce lawyer can determine the best strategy for your case, look forward to our law firm.

Adoptions and Guardianship

In Highlands Ranch, Colorado, both adoption and guardianship allow you to provide a child with a stable and loving home and to care for him or her the way a parent does, but the legal implications of the two vary considerably, which makes better understanding the distinctions important. Highlands Ranch family attorneys help you with any family law issues such as adoptions or child custody.


Guardianship in family law addresses the fact that a child needs parental care, and if his or her Highlands Ranch parent (or parents) are unable to provide this care temporarily, guardianship may be in order. A child in need of guardianship still has parents, and those parents retain important legal rights, including the right to pass an inheritance to the child and the right to terminate the guardianship (via the appropriate legal channels). Experienced family law attorney makes sure your legal rights are respected during family law cases.

Adoption in Highlands Ranch

Family law cases like adoptions, on the other hand, terminate the rights of the child’s birth parents and transfer all parental rights to the adoptive parents. Adoption in family law is a permanent transfer of parental rights and responsibilities that involves considerable legal effort on the part of the adoptive parents to accomplish.

Grandparents’ Rights

In Colorado, grandparents can be afforded some visitation rights when any of the following applies:

  • The parents of their grandchildren are divorced.
  • The parents of their grandchildren have had their marriage annulled.
  • The parents of their grandchildren have legally separated.
  • Someone other than one of the parents of their grandchildren has been awarded custody of the children.
  • One of the grandchildren’s parents has passed away.

The court in Douglas county is always moved by the best interests of the children involved in every given family law case, and if it is the court’s belief that the children’s interests are best served by having regularly scheduled visits with their grandparents, it will grant the visitation. It is important to note, however, that grandparent visitation is not guaranteed, and obtaining the right can be a daunting process for family lawyers. Ensuring that you will be allowed to remain in your grandchildren’s lives, however, can naturally be worth all the legal effort involved.

Parental Relocation

The parent who does not have primary custody can naturally move away from the other parent, but he or she will need to address the matter of visitation with the children. While custodial parents used to be afforded the same right, the courts have focused their attention more keenly on the best interests of the children in recent years. While the court cannot deny the custodial parent the right to move out of CO state, it can shift custody to the parent who remains in Douglas county – if it finds that the children’s best interests are supported by this decision. In other words, parental relocations can very quickly become very challenging legal matters. Consult an experienced attorney or law firm for a customized legal strategy.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

The difference between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, which are both legal contracts, is when they are executed. Prenuptial agreements are created prior to marriage and go into effect at the time of marriage. Postnuptial agreements are created and go into effect – upon being signed by both parties – during the marriage.

Both prenups and postnups have something of a bad reputation due to hype in the press and movies, but they amount to nothing more than tools that can help guide the course of one’s divorce if the marriage does not endure. What prenuptial and postnuptial agreements don’t do is hasten or promote divorce, and having one does not make it more likely that your marriage will fail.

The terms that can be addressed in a prenup or postnup in Douglas county – and that often are – include:

  • The division of marital property
  • The separate nature of the separate property, including business ownership
  • Spousal maintenance
  • The inheritance rights of any children who belong to one spouse alone

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot, however, take up the matter of parental responsibilities or parenting time, which must be resolved according to the children’s best interests at the time. Child support is similarly off limits unless the terms included exceeding the state’s requirements. Our Highlands Ranch family lawyers can help you to draft correctly a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Violence in Family Law Matters

Violence is recognized by Colorado family law as being especially harmful to a family’s future, and the State of Colorado takes the matter exceptionally seriously. Domestic violence refers to a violent act or the threat of a violent act against someone who is a past or current intimate partners, such as a spouse or a boyfriend or girlfriend. The violence itself can be enacted upon the intimate partner, a family member (such as a child), a pet, or property.

Violence is an enhancement charge that is brought in conjunction with the charge that addresses the underlying violent act, such as misdemeanor assault as an act of violence. If the violence involved is against an intimate partner, the prosecution is generally required to include the enhancement as an act of domestic violence. In Douglas county, domestic violence charges can include:

  • Outright violence
  • Violent attempts
  • Violent threats
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Revenge
  • Coercion, which amounts to threatening, forcing, or intimidating someone into doing something they do not want to do – or into not doing something they have the right to do

Turn to an Experienced Highlands Ranch Family Law Attorney for the Help You Need

Chris Little at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is a trusted family law lawyer whose practice focuses on helping clients as you prevail with favorable case resolutions. We build a solid attorney client relationship. Learn more by contacting or calling us at (720) 370-2171 today.

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