The Importance of Having a Divorce Lawyer

The Importance of Having a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a major transition for any family that experiences it, and while the emotional component is exceptionally challenging, the legalities determine your financial and parental rights, which makes having skilled legal guidance key. If you are considering or facing divorce, the experienced Aurora divorce lawyer at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, encourages you to reach out and contact us for more information today.

Understanding Divorce

Once the emotional rollercoaster of divorce commences, it can be difficult to stay focused on the complex legal concerns involved, which makes having a clear understanding of what you are up against critical. Divorce amounts to the dissolution of the marriage contract, and while divorces vary considerably from couple to couple, the basics involve hammering out the specific divorce terms that apply in your situation, which can include any combination of the following:

 

 

Resolving the Terms of Divorce

In order for your divorce to be finalized, you and your divorcing spouse – along with your respective Aurora divorce lawyers – will need to find middle ground that you are both willing to sign off on regarding each of the terms that applies to your divorce. If you are able to negotiate terms between yourselves, you retain your decision-making power. If, on the other hand, you face one or more terms that you’re ultimately unable to resolve, you’ll need the court to make these determinations on your behalf. Prior to heading to court, however, you have options that include the following:

 

  • Allowing your respective divorce lawyers to negotiate with one another on behalf of your separate interests – in pursuit of term resolutions that work for each of you
  • Heading to mediation, where a professional mediator, acting as a neutral third party, will help you, your soon-to-be ex, and your respective Aurora divorce lawyers carefully consider your best options – in the context of how your case would likely be resolved if it went to court. 

 

Your Child Custody Arrangements

Your child custody arrangements will guide your parental rights, which makes this a primary legal term for divorcing couples who have minor children. In Colorado, legal custody is called parental responsibilities, and physical custody or visitation is called parenting time, and both must be addressed and resolved. 

Parental Responsibilities

As a parent, you face immense responsibility regarding your children, and the law addresses this responsibility as it relates to making primary parenting decisions, such as the following:

 

  • Decisions regarding your children’s schooling 
  • Decisions regarding your children’s medical needs
  • Decisions regarding your children’s religious education
  • Decisions regarding your children’s extracurriculars

 

These are the kind of decisions that guide your children’s upbringing, and you and their other parent can continue making them together, but other options include:

 

  • One of you having the authority to make the decision if you are ultimately unable to resolve the matter between yourselves
  • Both of you dividing these decisions between you according to category
  • One of you having sole parental responsibilities and making each of the decisions entirely on your own

 

If a decision needs to be made in an emergency, the parent who is there or who is more readily available is on-call to do so, and when it comes to those cascading decisions that parents need to make throughout the day – every day – the parent who has the children at the time is responsible for making them. 

 

Parenting Time

Your parenting time schedule determines how you and your ex will divide your overnights with your children. While the court generally orders set parenting time schedules, you and your divorcing spouse can create any schedule that works for your family if you’re able to reach an agreement on the matter. While schedules can vary widely when it comes to parenting time, these schedules are generally categorized in one of the following two ways:

 

  • One parent has the majority of overnights with the kids – making them the primary custodial parent. 
  • Both parents have a similar number of overnights with the kids.

 

Child Support

You and your children’s other parent are both responsible for providing your children with the financial support they need – in accordance with your financial ability to do so. A range of factors go into Colorado’s child support calculation process, including the following:

 

  • Your children’s overall physical and mental health
  • Your children’s needs, including any special needs
  • Each parent’s income and overall financial standing
  • The number of overnights you each parent has with the children
  • Any additional child support responsibilities – for children of another relationship – the payor has
  • What your children’s standard of living would have been if you had remained married
  • Anything else the court considers relevant

 

In the end, the parent with higher earnings typically pays child support to the other parent – even when they enjoy an equal number of overnights with the children. 

The Division of Your Marital Assets

When you and your spouse married, you may have brought assets with you into the marriage, and if you’re able to keep these assets separate over the course of your marriage, they will remain the separate property of the original owner. Any additional assets, however, are considered marital – with very limited exceptions that include:

 

  • Gifts given to either of you in your own name alone
  • Any inheritances that either of you received in your own name alone

 

In a Colorado divorce, your marital assets – or their value – need to be divided between you equitably – or fairly given a wide range of applicable factors. 

Your Equitable Division of Assets

In order to divide the assets that you acquired during your marriage equitably, which is not necessarily the same as dividing them equally, the court takes factors like the following into careful consideration:

 

  • Your overall marital estate
  • The separate assets each of you owns
  • The tax implications of the proposed division of assets
  • Each spouse’s earning potential and current earnings
  • The contributions each of you made to the marital estate, including contributions such as homemaking and childcare
  • Whether either spouse spent down, gifted, hid, or otherwise dissipated marital assets
  • Anything else the court considers relevant

 

Separate Assets

Separate assets require a bit of separate attention. To begin, maintaining the separate nature of a separate asset can be exceptionally challenging, and any of the following can weaken the division between separate and marital assets:

 

  • The intertwining of separate and marital accounts or funds over the course of a marriage
  • Using marital funds to grow or maintain a separate asset – or vice versa 
  • Pouring time and effort into a separate asset without paying yourself accordingly, which can be translated as a reduction in income that would have gone into the marital coffers

 

Further, if a separate asset – such as a retirement account or stock – increases in value over the course of your marriage, the amount of the increase will be treated as a marital asset.

 

The division of marital assets has the potential to be the most hotly contested term of any divorce, which makes reaching out for the professional legal counsel of a skilled Aurora divorce lawyer an excellent step to take early in the divorce process.  

Alimony

Colorado calls alimony spousal maintenance, and it is only a term in those divorces that leave one spouse facing a financial setback while the other has the financial ability to help. The longer the marriage and the greater discrepancy there is in assets and earning potential, the more likely alimony is to be awarded. Some of the factors that go into the decision-making process when it comes to spousal maintenance include:

 

  • The distribution of marital assets
  • Each spouse’s separate income and earning potential
  • Each spouse’s overall level of education 
  • The recipient’s age and overall physical and mental health
  • Both spouse’s contributions to the marital estate, including contributions in the form of supporting the other’s career, homemaking, and childcare
  • The lifestyle achieved while married
  • Anything else the court considers relevant

 

When alimony is awarded, it is generally set for an amount and duration that allows the recipient the resources necessary to gain further education, job training, experience, or job skills necessary to become more financially independent. 

Consult with an Experienced Aurora Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce is a serious matter that can affect the rest of your life. Do not forgo property or support that you deserve, and never give up your deserved time with your children. Instead, seek help from an attorney who can protect your rights and interests. 

 

Chris Little at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, is a capable Aurora divorce lawyer with a long track record of guiding challenging cases like yours toward beneficial outcomes that honor our clients’ rights and best interests. If you are facing a divorce, are considering a divorce, or have questions or concerns related to divorce, our seasoned legal team has the experience and legal knowhow to help, and we encourage you to reach out by contacting or calling us at (720) 370-2171 for more information about what we can do for you today.

 

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