We Wrote The Book On Divorce In Colorado
If you have to go through a divorce, do you want a lawyer who practices in several other areas or do you want a lawyer who truly understands family law? At Hogan Omidi, PC, our partner wrote the reference books on Colorado family law that the majority of lawyers, judges and others use. We know the law and we can explain exactly how it will affect you during and after your divorce.
Our law firm is one of the top family law firms in the state. We are well-known in Denver and throughout the region for handling complex property division, difficult custody cases and high net worth divorces. Our attorneys approach every case with sensitivity and compassion for your situation. We look at your unique circumstances and find the right solution. We strive to meet your goals and protect your interests and assets during a complicated and sometimes trying process.
How Divorce Will Affect You
Colorado is an equitable distribution state, meaning that property is divided fairly between spouses. But equitable does not always mean equal and there are many complicating factors, such as how to treat the house, a closely held business, retirement accounts, accumulated debts, as well as the issue of separate assets or a prenuptial agreement. You will need to set priorities for the give-and-take of a property settlement.
Child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child, but you have a say in the specifics of the parenting arrangements. The state wants both parents to be involved in their children’s lives. Each parent has certain rights and responsibilities regarding his or her child, including financial support and a right to parenting time, but there is no cookie cutter approach.
Depending on the disparity between you and your spouse in current income and earning potential, spousal maintenance may also be an issue. For some high earners, the state guidelines may not apply. If you have minor children, child support will also have to be addressed. Parental income levels, the payment or receipt of spousal maintenance and the amount of parenting time each parent has will all affect the calculation of child support.
Savvy Counsel And Customized Solutions
Our attorneys will sit down with you and discuss your needs and goals for the outcome of your divorce. We will protect your important assets and find places you can compromise with your spouse. Every case is prepared for court because it is impossible to predict which cases might end up in court. Nevertheless, we find that negotiation is frequently the most productive way to resolve your case, and when we are thoroughly prepared, we can approach negotiations from the best possible position.
You have a few options regarding how we conduct your case. We offer a collaborative approach, in which you and your spouse and your respective attorneys agree to work together to come to a settlement without the need for litigation. We also use mediation or arbitration, where appropriate, to resolve potential sticking points.
We have extensive experience in handling contested divorces, where one spouse will not engage in good faith or a couple is unable to agree on major issues. We are aggressive litigators and will fight to get you a fair resolution.
Basic Requirements for a Colorado Divorce
If you are considering a divorce in the state of Colorado, there are some basic requirements that you must meet in order to file.
1. Residency Requirement
To file for divorce in Colorado, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 91 days prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This means that the person filing must have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days before they can even start the divorce process.
2. Personal Jurisdiction
In order for Colorado to hear a divorce case, it must have what is known as “personal jurisdiction” over both spouses. The courts have personal jurisdiction over the spouse who files for divorce. To have personal jurisdiction over the responding spouse, one of the following must be true:
- The spouses filed for divorce jointly
- The responding spouse waived service by signing a document so stating
- The responding spouse was personally served in the state of Colorado
Sometimes, the court will be able to divide assets located in the state even without a waiver or service within the state. There are also interstate procedures that may be employed in some cases to address child support from an out of state parent but the procedures can be complex and will not apply in every situation
3. Home State Requirement (for children only)
If there are children involved in the divorce, and one or both of the parents live out of state, there is an additional requirement known as the “home state requirement” that may come into play. This requirement is complex but in general if the parents reside in different states, for Colorado to hear a case involving children, the children must have lived in Colorado for at least 181 days before filing the custody action or Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If the child is younger than 6 months, the home state is where the child lived from birth.
Colorado is a “No-Fault” Divorce State
In Colorado, divorce is considered “no-fault.” A no-fault divorce is one in which neither party is held responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In other words, it doesn’t matter who did what, or who is at fault. To get a no-fault divorce in Colorado, one spouse must allege only that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” As well the court is not allowed to consider fault type claims in dividing the assets and liabilities.
How Long Will it Take to Get a Divorce in Colorado?
There are many factors that can affect the timeline of a divorce, such as whether you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on all the important issues, or if you need to go to trial. If you have minor children, there are also additional steps that need to be taken to protect their best interests.
The first thing to know is that there is a 91-day waiting period from the date the non-filing spouse receives the divorce papers. This waiting period is required by Colorado law and is the time when parties are required to collect and exchange financial information, and engage in efforts to reach agreed resolutions.
Once the paperwork has been filed, your spouse will have to respond. If they do not respond within the required time frame, you can move forward with what’s called a “default” divorce.
If your spouse does respond to the initial filing, then you’ll enter into the disclosure phase of the divorce. There are mandatory requirements for each party to compile records and provide information regarding a wide range of financial and other circumstances. Depending on the complexity of the case, each side may also issue formal requests for other documents or information.
There may also need to be business valuations, real estate appraisals or evaluations relating to custody issues.This phase can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the issues.
After discovery and any expert evaluations are complete, you’ll begin working on settling all the important details of your divorce through negotiation or mediation. If you’re able to reach an agreement on everything, then this part of the process can be fairly quick. However, if there are disagreements about some of the key issues (such as parenting time or support), then it could take longer to resolve those issues.
If you and your partner can’t come to an agreement and your divorce case goes to trial, the process can be lengthy, depending on how complex custody/support issues are and whether there is significant property and assets. For these reasons, many divorcing couples choose to reach an agreement outside of court through mediation. In most cases parties will be required to try to reach a resolution through mediation before a court will allow a trial. Once an agreement is reached, they will submit it to the court for approval. If approved by the judge, the divorce is finalized.
Why You Need to Hire a Divorce Lawyer
The decision to get a divorce is never an easy one. If you are considering filing for divorce, you may be wondering if you need to hire a lawyer. While it is possible to file for divorce without representation, there are many reasons why it is in your best interest to have legal counsel by your side throughout the process.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help You Navigate The Legal System
The process of getting a divorce can be complicated and the required forms can be confusing, even to intelligent and educated individuals. It helps to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the legal system by your side. A divorce lawyer can explain the process to you, file the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court if necessary.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help Reduce Stress Levels
The process of getting a divorce can be stressful, both emotionally and financially. Having a divorce lawyer to handle the legal aspects of your case can allow you to focus on taking care of yourself and your family during this difficult time.
They Can Help You See the Bigger Picture
It’s natural to feel like you’re in the middle of an emotional storm when you’re going through a divorce. And when you’re in the middle of a storm, it can be difficult to see things clearly. A divorce lawyer can help you take a step back and look at the big picture so you can make decisions that are in your best interests, in the short-term and long-term.
They Can Develop a Winning Strategy
Divorce is often compared to war because there’s so much at stake and because the stakes are so high. When your future is on the line, you need a winning strategy. A divorce lawyer can help develop that strategy and put together a team of experts (accountants, child psychologists, etc.) to help give you the best chance of success.
Put Your Case In Our Experienced Hands
Call us to schedule a consultation at 303-691-9600 or contact us online. We have offices in Cherry Creek and Aspen and serve clients throughout Colorado.