Denver Divorce Attorneys
Divorce not only ends a marriage, but significantly changes the lifestyles that went with it. From a legal perspective, divorce sets the parameters for parenting, custody, and financial support. If you are about to become involved in the divorce process, or even just considering it, we know how emotionally uncertain this time is for you. Divorce can be a complicated legal process and it is never a good idea to try to navigate the legal system on your own. Seeking legal representation right away will help you avoid mistakes that could potentially devastate you both personally and financially.
Hulse Law Firm has developed a prominent presence in the Denver area for our expertise in divorce. We are recognized for highly personalized, compassionate representation and advocate aggressively for each of our client’s rights. Consult with a divorce lawyer in Denver, CO from our firm before you do anything else! We will provide expert counsel to ensure that your interests are protected every step of the way.
No Fault Divorce
Colorado is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that you do not have to have grounds for a divorce. In most cases any personal issues that led to a spouse filing for divorce will not be admissible in court and will not be a factor in determining property division and maintenance. However, there are some exceptions to this. If it can be proven that one spouse is “wasting” assets in anticipation of a divorce, or if one parent’s personal problems negatively affect the best interests of the children involved, these issues will be considered when deciding financial and parenting time issues.
In Colorado there is a “90 day waiting period” from the date a spouse is served with the Petition of Dissolution of Marriage to when the divorce may be finalized. However, it is important to realize that if there are any contested issues between parties, it can take much longer and become much more complex. Contested issues can include:
- agreeing to be divorced
- parental parenting plan and parental decision-making responsibilities
- amount and duration of child support
- amount and duration of any maintenance
- division of property and debts
Depending on the validity and complexity of issues raised and the county in which the divorce is filed, a contested divorce can take anywhere from four months to two years to be completed. If you do end up in a contested divorce situation, your divorce attorney in Denver, CO, from the Hulse Law Firm will see to it that you are fully aware of all the legal proceedings involved and that your interests are protected throughout the entire process.
Marital and Separate Property
In a divorce settlement, a Colorado court is required to divide marital assets and debts between the parties “equitably,” which does not necessarily mean “equally.” Generally, property that is acquired during the marriage is presumed to be marital, whether it is titled in one party’s name or both parties’ names. That includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, business interests, vehicles, and trusts. It is important to know that investment accounts, pensions, IRAs, 401Ks and retirement plans are also treated like other assets in a divorce. Property is considered separate when it is acquired before the date of marriage, obtained by gift or inheritance, or was an award from certain kinds of personal injury settlements. Any increase in the value of separate property from the date of marriage to the date of divorce is also considered marital. It is vital to the divorce process to accurately designate whether an asset is “marital” or “separate.”
Once it has been determined which of the assets are to be considered as part of the marital estate, the next critical step is to assign an accurate value to each. Sometimes it is fairly easy to ascertain the value of an asset. Other times, an appraisal may be necessary or a financial expert may be needed to value a business, trusts, or retirement accounts. The value of a retirement account may not automatically be the face value of what is listed on the current account statement.
If you want to retain sole possession and declare something as a separate asset, it is important to make sure you do not commingle funds or property, and you should seek the counsel of a divorce lawyer in Denver, CO from Hulse Law Firm. This is a critical aspect of protecting yourself during divorce. We can explain what commingling means and the possible ramifications. Disagreements and varied interpretations of separate and marital property issues can become complicated when there is evidence of commingling.
Just like assets, any debt acquired during the course of a marriage belongs to both spouses. There are complicated issues that will need to be addressed regarding credit card and other debts that have only one spouse’s name listed. In cases where there is excessive debt above and beyond a couple’s assets, the court may assign a greater portion of the debts to the spouse who is in a better financial position to pay off the debts.
Debts incurred before a marriage or after a separation, could likely only belong to the spouse who incurred them. As with the division of assets, many disputes arise as to who is responsible. You will want to have a good divorce lawyer in Denver on your side to represent you and protect your interests.
Valuation of Property
Hulse Law Firm helps clients obtain values for the assets accumulated during the marriage. We also help identify accrued debt and other obligations. Our firm’s specialized expertise in understanding Colorado law will ensure that there is a thorough examination of all of the financial factors involved, and that our client’s current and future financial position is protected.
“Maintenance” is Colorado’s term for “alimony” or “spousal support.” As of January 1, 2014, a new maintenance statute was enacted that judges are required to follow when entering maintenance awards for one spouse. Within this new statute are guidelines regarding the amount of maintenance to be paid on a monthly basis, and the length of time the maintenance is to be paid. Although the statute provides a basic calculation, this amount is not automatically the maintenance award.
The Court may also consider other factors in the determination of maintenance including:
- the financial resources of the spouses
- the ability of the spouse receiving maintenance to meet his or her needs independently
- the ability of the spouse paying maintenance to meet his or her own reasonable needs
- the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage
- the distribution of property
- employment of the spouses or employment that may be obtainable with training or education
- the need of one spouse to reduce employment to meet needs of children
- what the parties historically earned during the marriage
- duration of marriage
- age and health of parties
- economic/non-economic contribution of the spouses to the marriage
Maintenance is included as taxable income for the person receiving it and deductible for the spouse paying it. Consult with a divorce attorney in Denver, CO to determine what your rights are regarding receiving maintenance, or as to what your obligations may be for paying your ex-spouse.
Divorce Law Can Be Complicated
There are a number of potential loopholes that pertain to all aspects of divorce and it is important to be fully aware of exactly what your rights and responsibilities are before you agree to anything. Even if you believe that you are ending your marriage on friendly terms and you seem to be in agreement with your spouse on all aspects, you need to consult with a divorce lawyer in Denver. An attorney is your absolute best resource for determining what you are legally entitled to or responsible for, even if that means tough negotiations or going to trial. Don’t try to “go it alone.” You can’t count on anyone but yourself and your attorney to look out for your future.
Accurate, Clear, and Binding Agreements
An attorney will guide you through the court system so that you and your assets are properly protected and see to it that all your documents are filed correctly, free of errors, and do not have any ambiguous or unclear language. If these steps are not done to the letter of the law, parts of your divorce agreement may be difficult, or even impossible to enforce.
Problems with paperwork and other unresolved issues often result when going to court without legal counsel. Most clients do not wish for a prolonged divorce process, but many additional complications do arise when a party to a divorce is not represented. Hulse Law Firm is skilled at avoiding costly legal pitfalls. Don’t be tempted to file for divorce on your own using court provided documents or information from a book, website, or worse yet, advice from well-meaning friends. Your future is too important!
Protect Your Well-Being
Retaining an attorney will significantly reduce the stress and missteps of the divorce process. Consult with a Denver divorce attorney of Hulse Law Firm. When you meet with us, you will know that your best interests are being protected. We will give you the professional and aggressive representation you deserve. Contact us today!