We handle all types of family law and divorce cases, including:
Dissolution of Marriage or Civil Unions
This may be one of the most difficult times of your life. You must consider and agree on how to divide your property, manage the children’s issues, and support yourself and your family.
We also assist same-sex parties in obtaining a dissolution of marriage or divorce.
In Colorado, a Legal Separation has some important differences from a Divorce or Dissolution. You should understand how Parties living apart from each other and a formal Legal Separation are different.
Parental Responsibilities (Parenting Time & Decision Making)
In Colorado, these issues used to be known as “custody” or “child custody” and “visitation.” Colorado law focuses on the best interests of the children in parenting time (the time the children spend with each parent) and decision making (how decisions regarding children are made). A Child and Family Investigator or a Parental Responsibilities Evaluator may be needed in your case. Jennifer can provide valuable insight for how these choices might affect your case. You deserve a knowledgeable attorney to help you through this process and reduce the emotional impact of the issues on the children.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
For unmarried parents or non-parents in certain circumstances, you must determine parental responsibilities and child support for your children. Jennifer represents unmarried individuals and individuals who have or had physical care of the children.
Colorado has specific guidelines for determining child support. Child support is calculated by a mathematical formula that takes into consideration the incomes of both parents and other factors. This calculation can be complex and technical. You need an attorney who understands the intricacies of child support and how it affects your family’s future. If child support enforcement is the only problem you need resolved, you may be able to get help from your local Child Support Enforcement Unit in the County where you reside.
Maintenance (formerly known as alimony)
In Colorado, this issue used to be known as “alimony.” Colorado understands that the economic lives of spouses are connected and it may be appropriate to have a period of adjustment when the spouses’ incomes are blended. Your case may require a vocational evaluation to help establish what income can be earned by a spouse. There are also tax considerations for payment and receipt of maintenance.
As of January 1, 2014, Colorado courts have new advisory guidelines to follow when determining the amount and term of maintenance. The guidelines are considered only for new cases or Motions to modify maintenance filed after January 1, 2014. The Parties’ marriage must have lasted at least 3 years in order for the advisory guidelines to be considered. The Parties’ combined annual adjusted gross income may not be more than $240,000 per year or the uppermost limit of the basic child support guidelines (currently $360,000 per year). The test for maintenance is whether the spouse requesting maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, and is unable to meet those needs through appropriate employment. The amount of the guideline maintenance award is calculated using 40% of the higher income earner’s gross monthly income minus 50% of the lower income earners’ gross monthly income. There is also adjustment for the maintenance paid of 20% or 25% depending on the tax bracket due to the changes in the Tax Cut & Jobs Act that removed the ability to deduct maintenance payments on a tax return. The term of guideline maintenance award is determined based upon the number of months of the marriage. The term of guideline maintenance for a marriage of 36 months (3 years) is 31% of the length of the marriage. The term of guideline maintenance for a marriage of 240 months (20 years) is 50% of the length of the marriage. If the marriage is more than 20 years in length, the Court may award maintenance for a certain number of years or an indefinite period.
Jennifer has experience in whether the Courts use the guideline maintenance as a formula like the Colorado child support guidelines or as a guide. Maintenance can be very difficult to resolve because the guidelines may be applied or the issue may be left largely to what the Court considers is fair. Court decisions can differ widely with similar facts.
Asset and Debt Division
During your marriage, you and your spouse have accumulated property and debts. In Colorado, property of the marriage is to be divided “equitably.” This does not necessarily mean equally. However, in many cases, the Court does divide the property and debt relatively equally. Your case may need appraisals, valuations, or other expert opinions. Jennifer has experience and knowledge with complex assets such as businesses, trusts, and real estate.
Post Decree Issues and Modification
Your situation may have changed since your divorce Decree was entered or you received your final Court Orders. You may need child support, maintenance, parenting time, or decision-making issues updated or revised. In general, orders regarding property division may not be revoked or modified unless the Court finds that the original Decree should be re-opened.
We represent clients with Premarital agreements. Premarital agreements are signed prior to a marriage or civil union. A Premarital can decrease future conflicts upon a divorce or legal separation or upon the death of one of the parties. A Premarital can assist you in deciding, in advance, what is marital property and what is separate property in the event of a divorce. You may also consider how marital property would be divided and whether or not maintenance or attorneys’ fees would be considered. We can assist you in considering whether to use a Premarital agreement and discussing, negotiating, and drafting your Premarital agreement. We can also assist you in litigation and enforcement of a previously executed Premarital agreement.
We represent clients with Post-Marital agreements. Post-Marital agreements are also called Antenuptial or Postnuptial agreements. Post-Marital agreements are signed after a wedding ceremony or civil union. Even after parties are married or joined by a civil union, a Post-Marital agreement can define the rights and obligations of each party in the event of a divorce or legal separation. We can assist you in discussing, negotiating, and drafting your Post-Marital agreement. We can also assist you in litigation and enforcement of a previously executed Post-Marital agreement.