When preparing to start your divorce action, or if you already know that you will soon be served by your spouse, it is important to gather and organize the paperwork that will be necessary. Many people hate the idea of paperwork and even try to procrastinate about it, but being pro-active will save a lot of time in the long run. You will be able to answer many of the critical questions that will help your attorney access your situation and advise you of your legal rights and responsibilities.
On the first visit to your attorney be prepared with the date of marriage, birthdates and social security numbers for you and your spouse, information about previous marriages including divorce decrees, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, and any judgments and pleadings that involved either you or your spouse.
If dependent children are involved, bring your children’s birthdates and social security numbers. Caring for your children will require financial cooperation. You will need to make decisions about parenting time, child care expenses, educational expenses, and future expenses such as college. You will also need to resolve which parent will claim the children for credit on your taxes. While things won’t necessarily be resolved immediately, start to formulate your thoughts and goals on all of these issues.
The amount of documentation and paperwork you will need depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. As you can imagine, there will be a lot more paperwork required for a contested divorce than for an uncontested case. The attorneys of Hulse Law Firm will work with you so that you can access the appropriate financial information early on and make sure that key items are not overlooked. We are specifically trained to help you navigate a successful settlement and secure your future financial stability.
The process of determining total assets and debt is more involved. You will need to produce paperwork that includes tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, credit card statements, marital home and other real estate information, vehicle information, health and other insurance accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts. These documents should cover your long-term history, not just the most recent transactions. While it generally depends on the length of marriage, three years of data should be sufficient.
Make a list of personal property including jewelry, artwork, collections, and antiques, and also specify which financial and material assets you personally brought into the marriage as individual property. It is also a good idea to pull your credit report and make sure you know about all debt that is registered in your name.
The summarization of a complete and accurate financial picture is a very important part of the divorce process. This disclosure of information will be put together from the paperwork and documents discussed here. The attorneys of Hulse Law Firm will ensure that the financial disclosure is done accurately, will see that your assets are safeguarded, and protect you so that you don’t miss out on your share of your spouse’s assets, investments, or accounts.
Being aware of the documentation needed and taking the time to prepare and organize your paperwork will save you a significant amount of time, money, and much of the unnecessary last minute stress. While we understand this is a very emotional time, it is important for you to stay focused during the entire process of divorce and know that accurate information and financial accountability is critical. As your attorneys, we will also help you create a clear picture of what it will cost to maintain your current lifestyle so that you are well-prepared to move on with your life after divorce. Call Hulse Law Firm today to set up your initial meeting!
If you are in the process of divorce or separating from your partner, naturally you are concerned about how the situation will impact your children. If handled poorly, it is true that divorce can negatively affect your children. However, you have the ability to significantly reduce this impact by making a concerted effort to ensure that your children continue to feel safe, secure, and loved. How you handle yourself during your divorce will play a huge role in how the children respond, even as the family structure is changing.
When facing divorce, couples often wonder, “Should we stay together for the kids?” Despite the fact that divorce is difficult, staying together for the sake of the children may not be a good idea after all. Studies show that children who live in homes with conflict and hostility are actually at a higher risk for developing their own mental health issues and behavioral problems. Children do better with well-adjusted parents who are respectful to each other, rather than resentful, even if it means that they no longer live in the same household. Many times parents find divorce is the healthiest option for everyone involved. Once you have resolved that in your mind, don’t continue to second guess yourself or carry unnecessary guilt.
As a team of experienced and compassionate family law attorneys, Hulse Law Firm understands the variety of highly charged issues that accompany divorce. It is not easy to control emotions and navigate through the various situations that arise. Based upon years of experience working with our clients, we have a few recommendations to help you and your children cope with divorce and the changing family dynamics.
Whatever your questions are with regard to ensuring the welfare of your children during a divorce, put your mind at ease by contacting Hulse Law Firm. We understand every situation is unique. Each of your questions and concerns are valid and deserve to be addressed. We are here to listen and provide expert counsel on the best course of action and on your rights as a parent. Remember the importance of reassuring the children that they are loved, even though their parents may be going their separate ways. Help your children look forward to a happy, healthy and positive future. Call us today!
The Hulse Law Firm is committed to provide the service our clients have come to expect and deserve. The safety and well-being of our employees and clients is of the upmost importance. During this tough time, we will remain open for business and will continue to accept new clients. Currently, we are happy to offer 30-minute free telephone consultations. If you would like to schedule a consultations, please call us at 720-773-2900.
The Colorado statute regarding child support provides clear guidelines as to when a child “emancipates” for the purpose of determining when a child support obligation terminates.
A child is generally considered emancipated in Colorado when he or she turns nineteen (19) years old. At this point, a child support obligation is terminated without a filing of a motion by the obligor. However, please note, if you have more than one child subject to a child support order, you will need to file a motion to modify child support once your oldest child turns nineteen years old in order to reduce the current child support order.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If a child is found to be mentally or physically disabled, the Court may consider this child to not yet be emancipated for purposes of child support at the age of nineteen and beyond. If the Court finds a child to be mentally or physically disabled, the Court may order continued child support, responsibility for continued health insurance coverage, and/or continued payments of medical expenses.
A child may also be considered “emancipated” before he or she turns nineteen. If parents enter a written agreement that a child is emancipated, then child support will terminate. If a child is in active duty military, he or she may be considered emancipated. If a child marries before he or she turns nineteen, the child will also be considered emancipated. However, if the marriage is dissolved, annulled, or declared invalid, before the child turns nineteen or otherwise emancipates, child support may be reinstated.
Another caveat to emancipation, is whether or not the child is still in high school or an equivalent program. If a child is already nineteen, but has not graduated, child support will continue until the month following graduation. Furthermore, if your child drops out of school or for other reasons is not enrolled, but reenrolls, child support can be reinstated until the month following graduation, or until he or she turns twenty-one (21), whichever occurs first.
Finally, the Court may also find that a child is emancipated for reasons not specifically listed in the statute. For example, has your child dropped out of school and earns his or her own income? Or, for some other reason does not need the support of his or her parents? Then, the Court may make a finding that the child has emancipated for the purposes of considering child support. If you would like to speak with an attorney to determine whether emancipation has occurred, please contact the Hulse Law Firm at 720-773-2900.
Contempt of Court Colorado –The Basics
If you believe your ex-spouse or the other parent in your case has violated a court order, you may be able to file contempt against him or her.
Is This the Best Remedy?
If the other party has violated a court order, you are generally entitled to file contempt against him or her. However, this may not be the best course of action. After filing a contempt motion, it may take several months to get into Court. If you need a quick remedy, there may be a better way to proceed. If the violation is a parenting time issue, you may get more traction by filing a “Verified Motion Concerning Parenting Disputes,” or you may want to request a status conference with the Court. If back child support is owed, you may want to file a Motion for a Judgment or an Income Assignment.
Before you file a contempt motion, it may be helpful to consult with an attorney to determine if this will best accomplish the remedy you are seeking when the other party is violating an order.
If, after proper consideration, you still wish to pursue a contempt motion, then you must file a Verified Motion and Affidavit for Citation for Contempt of Court and a proposed Order to Issue Citation and Citation to Show Cause. Once these documents are filed, the Court may grant the Order to Issue Citation and set the first hearing which is called the “advisement.” You must serve this order on the other party; service can be completed with the help of a sheriff or a private process server.
At the advisement, the party whom the contempt is issued against will be able to plead guilty or not guilty. This party will be read an advisement as to his or her rights, and the actual hearing on the contempt issues will be set at this time. At the advisement, the Court will determine if the alleged contemnor is entitled to court-appointed counsel.
If the alleged contemnor fails to appear at the advisement hearing, the Court may issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest to secure the attendance at a future date and time.
Finally, at the hearing the moving party must prove that the other party is in either remedial and/or punitive contempt of court. Generally, if a party is found to be in contempt, then a sentencing hearing is set. At the sentencing hearing, the Court will then sentence a party.
Punitive vs. Remedial Contempt
A party can ask that the court find the other party guilty of remedial and/or punitive contempt. There are different standards to prove each type of contempt, and, also different remedies for each type.
In punitive contempt the moving party is asking the Court to punish the alleged contemnor with a definitive fixed sentence to vindicate the dignity of the Court. In remedial contempt, the moving party is seeking to have the Court craft a sentence which gives the alleged contemnor an incentive to come into compliance with the Court’s orders and which sentence will end when the alleged contemnor proves that he or she has come into compliance with the court’s orders.
The burden of proof in punitive contempt is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The elements of punitive contempt are 1) that there was a lawful order of court, 2) that the alleged contemnor knew about the order, 3) that the alleged contemnor had the ability to comply with the court’s order and failed to comply, and 4) that the failure to comply on the part of the alleged contemnor was “willful.” Willful in this context means “voluntarily, knowingly, and with conscious regard for the consequences of one’s conduct.
The burden of proof in a remedial contempt is preponderance of the evidence. The elements of remedial contempt are 1) that there was a lawful order of court, 2) that the alleged contemnor knew about the order and failed to comply, 3) that the alleged contemnor has the current ability to comply with the court’s orders.
Potential Remedies in Contempt Hearings
The potential remedies in a contempt case include a jail sentence not to exceed six months, a fine, judgment of monies owed, and attorney fees. It is important to note that attorney fees are not awarded to parties seeking punitive contempt.
As stated initially, these remedies may not be what you are truly seeking, especially, for parenting time violations. If you file a Motion Concerning Parenting Time Disputes, there are many more remedies you can obtain, including make-up parenting time, a bond required by the offending parent to ensure future compliance, court-ordered family therapy, etc.
The contempt process can take a long time, can sometimes be expensive to pursue in terms of attorney fees, and may not accomplish what you need. Sometimes, however, it is absolutely necessary to file a contempt motion. It is helpful to consult with an attorney to determine what your options are and how to proceed if another party is not following a court order.