Family law issues are not only legally complicated, but also evoke strong emotions for the people involved. The stakes are even higher when the break up involves a business, a well-known personal brand or a substantial marital estate. You need an attorney who knows Colorado family law and who understands the sensitivity involved in these issues.
Hogan Omidi, PC, regularly represents clients in Denver and throughout the state who have such concerns. Partner Kathleen Hogan wrote the Colorado Family Law Practice Series, which is referenced throughout the state by attorneys, judges and professionals involved in family law issues. We bring that collective acumen to problem-solving and advocating for you.
Sophisticated Counsel In Colorado Family Law And Divorce
We can capably address a variety of family law matters:
- Divorce– We handle all facets of divorce, with an emphasis on high-asset and complex property division. From business and real estate valuations to deferred compensation and marital debt, we help clients forge settlements and move forward.
- Spousal support– We can help you determine whether maintenance (alimony) is a factor in your divorce and how much is reasonable.
- Child custody– We can represent you in custody determinations and negotiating a parenting plan, including advice and advocacy if one parent wants to relocate away from the area.
- Child support– Our attorneys are intimately familiar with the Colorado child support guidelines to ensure a fair and proper amount support for your children.
- Third-party and grandparent visitation– We can help grandparents and other relatives obtain visitation or custodial rights in appropriate circumstances. We also represent parents who are opposed to such outside involvement in their family relationships.
- Post-decree modifications and enforcement– After the divorce is final, you may need to make adjustments or hold your ex-spouse to his or her side of the agreement.
- Cohabitation agreements– We help unmarried partners decide how to divide certain expenses and which assets should be kept separate.
- Pre and postnuptial agreements– Whether you are getting married or considering formalizing your financial plans during a marriage, it is prudent to establish how property and assets would be divided at the time of a future death or divorce.
- Same-sex family law– We handle same-sex divorces and custody disputes, and we help couples dissolve civil unions.
- Family law appeals– If you believe you were not granted a fair trial or if a mistake was made during the divorce process, you may have grounds to appeal the decision.
Our lawyers work closely with you to find the right solution to your unique problem.
Exploring Alternatives To Litigation
Our attorneys are capable trial lawyers when divorce or custody litigation is warranted. But your situation may be amenable to alternative dispute resolution (third-party mediation or arbitration) or the collaborative law process. There are many advantages to these alternatives when both parties are committed to reaching a fair resolution. We have lawyers trained in collaborative family law, as well as lawyers who represent clients in mediation and arbitration.
How Alternative Dispute Resolution Can Benefit Your Family
While traditional litigation in court may be the first thing that comes to mind, there is another option that may be more beneficial for you and your family: alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR includes mediation and arbitration and is often faster, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court. Here are some of the benefits of using ADR to resolve your family law case.
You Retain Control
In court, you are at the mercy of a judge who will make decisions about your case that you may not agree with. When you use ADR, particularly mediation, you and the other party have more control over the outcome of your case. You can negotiate an agreement that works for both of you. Even if you don’t get everything you want, you will be the one to decide what concessions you are willing to make, rather than having a judge impose a decision on you.
Court proceedings are generally open to the public, which means that anyone can observe the proceedings. This can be particularly difficult if one or both of the parties are high profile figures or if you have children together and want to protect their privacy. With ADR, however, mediation or arbitration sessions are not open to the public and many of the communications are confidential and cannot be used outside of the proceedings.
As a result of crowded court dockets litigation can take months or even years to resolve, in part due to the wait time for court dates. By contrast, ADR can often be done in a matter of weeks in the very simple cases and months rather thanyears in the more complex matters. This is because you are working together with the other party to reach an agreement rather than waiting for a trial date.
It’s Less Expensive
Because ADR is faster than litigation, it also tends to be less expensive. You will save on attorney’s fees as well as costs associated with going to trial, such as court filing fees and expert witness fees.
If you are considering dissolution of your marriage, you may have also heard about collaborative law and wonder if it is the right process for your situation.
In this process, both spouses and their attorneys sign an agreement stating that they will work together to reach a settlement. This means that they will not go to court. Instead, they will work together to solve problems and reach an agreement that works for both parties.
The collaborative law process requires complete transparency by both parties. Each party must be honest and forthcoming with information related to all aspects of the dissolution, including but not limited to financial information. This is so both parties have all the information necessary to make informed decisions about resolving the issues in their case. This process sounds appealing but is not right for every case. This approach requires a high degree of trust and honest dealings on both sides, that is not justified I every situation.
The collaborative law process typically takes significantly less time than traditional dissolution proceedings. This is because everyone involved – including the attorneys and any other professionals who may be assisting with the case – are focused on helping the parties reach an agreement rather than going through a lengthy trial process. As a result, most cases can be resolved within a few months rather than taking years to resolve as they could if they were litigated in court.
We Also Help With Legal Separation
Some people choose to file for legal separation instead of divorce. If you are considering legal separation, here are some things you should know. A common misperception is that the process is faster or easier than a divorce. That is not true. Another misperception is that a legal separation is some kind of temporary or interim arrangement. That is also not true.
What is Legal Separation?
In Colorado, legal separation occurs when you are married but living apart from your spouse and there are court orders defining the terms of the arrangement. Just living apart does not create a Legal Separation. The legal separation process requires exactly the same financial disclosures as a divorce and results in exactly the same full and final divisions of marital assets and liabilities and determinations of maintenance and child support. When there are children, it also results in permanent orders regarding decision making responsibility and parenting time. Separating couples will need to negotiate agreements on issues such as child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support. Once these agreements are reached, they can be filed with the court and enforced like any other court order. If no agreements are reached, the trial process works exactly the same as in a divorce.
If a decree of legal separation is entered either party can convert it to a divorce as long as it has been at least six months since the court entered the orders for the legal separation. That conversion process does not require joint agreement and does not result in any revisions or adjustments of the existing financial or parental responsibility orders.
Why Choose Legal Separation?
There are a number of reasons why people might choose to file for legal separation instead of divorce. Some people want to remain married for religious reasons. Others may hope to maintain their health insurance benefits or continue receiving military benefits. Keep in mind that the availability of continued benefits of these types after legal separation is up to the insurance plan or benefit provider not the court or the parties.
We Can Help With Modifying Orders
While child support and alimony may feel set in stone, there are some cases where you can modify the amount you pay (or receive). It’s not always easy, but we can help you navigate the process. It’s important for you to understand the basics so you know what to expect.
Modifying Child Support
There are several instances in Colorado where a child support order can be modified:
One of the most common grounds is a substantial and continuing change in the income of one of the parents. Another is a change in the child’s primary residence or other substantial change in the amount of time the child spends with each parent. A third ground is a change in the number of children being covered by the support order, such as when one of the children reaches the age of majority. Child support orders often but not always, contain requirements for the annual exchange of income information so the parents can determine whether an adjustment is or is not warranted.
Modifying Spousal Maintenance
Modifications to maintenance are only permitted if there has been a change in circumstances that is both substantial and continuing, to the point where the original maintenance award is unfair.
What Qualifies as a Substantial Change in Circumstances For Maintenance?
In order to modify your maintenance agreement, you must be able to show that there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances since the original agreement was reached or order was entered that makes the original terms unfair. This can be difficult to do, as it requires more than simply showing that your financial situation has changed. It also requires more than a hope that a different Judge might see the situation differently.
The court will consider whether the changes are continuing and whether they warrant a modification of the maintenance agreement. For example, if you temporarily lost your job but have since been or will soon be rehired at the same or a similar salary, it’s unlikely that the court would consider this a continuing and substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification of your maintenance agreement. As well, the fact that it has become harder to make the payments, or that it has become harder to get by on what is being received won’t always meet the required standard.
Sensitive To Your Needs, Oriented To Your Goals
We understand how difficult these complex issues can be. Our civil, principled approach to family law is designed to support you through this process with a minimum of stress while producing the maximum benefit for you.
Call us to schedule a consultation at 303-691-9600 or contact us online. We have offices in Cherry Creek and Aspen. We serve clients all over Colorado.