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How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Denver, CO divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse are considering ending your marriage and you have children together, you probably have many concerns. Coming to terms with the marriage ending is already difficult, but adding the stress of how the divorce will affect your children can make things seem impossible. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information from child development experts and mental health specialists about how best to break the news of divorce to children.

Keep the Children’s Ages in Mind

The information you will give a five-year-old child about your divorce and what you will tell a fifteen-year-old should be different. Young children are not going to understand terms like “custody” or “separation.” Instead of getting into the details, experts suggest parents tell young children how the divorce will affect them and focus on reassuring the child. For example, parents can say something like, “Mommy and daddy are not going to live together anymore, but you will still see both of us all the time.” Make sure to reassure the child that the divorce is not their fault and that you, as parents, still love the child and will continue to be their parents.

Rhonda Freeman of Toronto’s Family Services Association explains that sometimes children think they can influence the separation. They need to know that it is a decision that did not happen because of them. She warns parents that children might think they can bring their parents back together, or that they somehow caused the divorce. If this is true, the children may have trouble getting on with the healing process. Be sure to help your child understand that your divorce was based on adult decisions which are not their responsibility and that they cannot change.

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Denver asset division lawyerIf you are considering a divorce in Colorado, you may have questions about how you and your spouse will divide the property you have accumulated during your marriage. Television, movies, and pop culture tend to suggest that you will need to divide everything equally in half, but the reality is much more nuanced. In fact, the law in Colorado requires a divorcing couple's marital property to be divided fairly—not necessarily equally—under a principle known as "equitable distribution."

Identifying and Evaluating Marital Property

To understand how equitable distribution works in Colorado, it is necessary to understand what property is subject to division in the first place. In general, any property that was acquired during the marriage—with a few important exceptions—is considered "marital property" and is therefore subject to equitable distribution. This includes not only obvious things like houses and cars, but also things like retirement accounts and debt.

The next step is to determine the value of each marital asset. This can be a complicated process, particularly if the asset in question is something like a business that does not have a readily apparent market value. Establishing an acceptable value for an asset is an important part of dividing marital property, and experts may be required to help you do so. For example, you may wish to consult with a financial advisor to establish the current and long-term value of your retirement accounts.

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The Challenges of Post-Divorce Dating

Posted on in Divorce

CO divorce lawyerYou probably know at least one person, if not many people, who emerged from a divorce and jumped almost directly into a new romantic relationship—metaphorically before the ink even dried on their paperwork. Depending on the situation of your marriage and divorce, you may find the idea of a new romantic partner extremely appealing. There are several reasons, however, that you might want to take a step back and consider if you are truly ready for a new commitment so soon.

Divorce and Grief

Mental health experts regularly suggest that the psychological and emotional effects of a divorce are very similar to those associated with the death of a loved one. As with death, grieving the end of your marriage is a process and not an event that is over after a specified amount of time. Every person grieves differently, and there is no right or wrong way to move through it. This means that while some people may be ready to date again right away, others may not be emotionally prepared for months or even years. Sometimes, a person might never be ready for another new romantic relationship.

Casual vs. Serious Dating

As your marriage deteriorated, you may have experienced extreme loneliness and isolation. While you may feel like the only way to overcome these feelings is to find someone to date exclusively. There is, however, a middle ground. Without putting yourself at risk of another heartbreak with a new romance, you may consider casually dating and meeting a variety of people. You may even find that casual dating allows you to heal and rebuild your own confidence along the way.

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Getting Yourself Ready for a Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

CO divorce lawyerIf you have reached the point with your spouse that divorce has gone from “possible” to “almost certain,” you need to start thinking about the road that lies ahead. Of course, you should give some thought to your post-divorce situation, including where you will live and how you will afford your new life. The process of divorce itself, however, will require a substantial amount of consideration and planning. Doing so with purpose and intention can help limit your confusion and stress along the way.

Commit to Cooperate

Your divorce does not have to be chaotic and bitter. In fact, the law in Colorado includes many provisions that encourage you and your spouse to cooperate, negotiate, and create workable agreements. You will only be able to do so, however, if both you and spouse decide this is what you want from the start. When you commit to working together, you can start informal negotiations can start immediately. Any conclusions that the two of you are able to reach can eventually be recorded in the formal settlement agreement.

Keep in mind that the initial commitment to cooperation is only a first step. Along the way, you might have to remind yourself a few times that it is better to work together than to fight it out in court over weeks and months.

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CO divorce lawyerOne of the most important decisions you will make when going through a divorce is choosing who you will retain to be your divorce attorney. Having the right attorney—one who is not only skilled at his or her craft but also one who you feel comfortable and confident with—is crucial to having a “successful” divorce.

When meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time, there are several areas that you should make sure you find out information on. These areas include:

Attorneys’ Fees and Other Legal Costs

What the attorney charges, such as their hourly rate, how much if any of a retainer is required, as well as other legal fees that may be involved, are topics that every attorney should be forthcoming about. No one needs any surprise expenses, especially while going through such a life-changing event. Although an attorney cannot predict the exact amount your divorce may cost, they should be able to explain the typical costs, as well as situations that could arise which could cause those expenses to increase.

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CO divorce lawyerA divorce can be a stressful and contentious matter – and not just because of the impending end of your romantic relationship. Financial matters are also particularly important in divorce, and they can have a lasting impact on each party’s quality life. If you are planning on filing for divorce or have recently been served, beware of these money issues in your case and learn how an experienced divorce lawyer may be able to help protect your interests and financial future.

Housing and Living Expenses

When couples split up, one typically leaves the family home. The other may stay, or the couple may agree to sell the home, and both may vacate the premises. Regardless of the living arrangements that they agree to, parties are encouraged to prepare for an increase in living expenses. Couples should also consider how a decrease in household income – an inevitable side effect of divorce – may impact their respective financial situations. As an example, consider downsizing early, before the proceedings begin, if maintaining the family home is not looking like a viable option.

Financially Disadvantaged Spouses

In a marriage, one party typically handles the couple’s expenses and assets. In some cases, this same party is also the sole provider. When these two concerns are combined, it can create a serious disadvantage for the non-earning spouse. While alimony or child support might be an option, even before the divorce is finalized, disadvantaged spouses sometimes lack the knowledge or resources to pursue such relief on their own. An experienced attorney can help – even if the disadvantaged spouse does not have their own money to spend. So, do not skip the lawyer just because you lack liquid funds. Instead, find out what options may be available to you.

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Mediation: Divorce on Your Schedule

Posted on in Divorce

CO mediation lawyerWhen any type of legal matter goes to court, the parties involved typically relinquish a substantial level of control over the circumstances. While it is possible that the court could broker an amicable deal, it is much more likely that acrimony and contentiousness will arise. Additionally, most court dates are set weeks or months in the future, and there is little or no progress made in between court appearances. As a result, what might have been a fairly simple divorce can quickly turn into a long, drawn-out dispute. In many situations, however, mediation might offer a much more reasonable option reaching an agreement regarding a divorce—an option that allows the involved couple to address the most important issues at their own pace.

Understanding Mediation

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution in which two or more involved parties engage in negotiations under the guidance of a neutral third party. This third party—called a mediator—does not generally offer advice or solutions. Instead, the mediator provides direction for the parties to help them reach a resolution. The mediation process is used in a wide range of legal matters, and it is quite often used in family law and divorce proceedings. Spouse who choose a mediated divorce could opt to retain their own respective attorneys, and some mediators are actually licensed attorneys as well.

Scheduling Flexibility

The cooperative nature of divorce mediation makes it appealing for many situations, but mediation is often attractive for the flexibility it offers. Scheduled court dates generally require both spouses to take time off from work, arrange for childcare, and spend a great deal of time waiting for the chance to address their concerns. Mediation sessions, on the other hand, can be usually be schedule for any time that is convenient for both parties and the mediator—including evenings and weekends. This allows the process to move faster and more efficiently compared to most litigated divorce cases.

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When Is It Time to Consider a Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

CO divorce lawyerTwo people do not get married and plan to get divorced at some later time. The topic of divorce is sometimes brought up when people and circumstances change over the course of years. Over time during a marriage, there will be many challenges, but it is when you no longer want to conquer them with your spouse that a divorce sounds like the better option.

The statistical likelihood of who gets divorced varies based on many factors such as age, the length of marriage, and if a person has divorced before. In the last two decades, the overall number of divorces have decreased from 2000 to 2014, challenging the widely accepted “truth” that half of marriages end in divorce. (The actual rate of divorce is estimated to be between 30 and 40 percent in today’s world.)

Factors Involved in Deciding to Divorce

Whether or not you have seriously considered divorcing your spouse or not, here are some signs that it is time to get a divorce:

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CO divorce lawyerAside from the death of a loved one, getting a divorce is the most stressful event that is likely to happen in a person’s life. This is because a divorce encompasses almost everything in your life, from where you live and how much time you spend with your children, to your monthly expenses and tax implications. The process of divorcing your spouse is not just a legal one -- it is as much an emotional process as it is anything else. While people may tell you that you will be much happier after your divorce is over, there are plenty of realities that nobody really talks about. Here are a few things that you may not be prepared for when it comes to life after your Illinois divorce:

#1: You Will Probably Feel a Loss, Even if You Initiated the Divorce

Getting a divorce is a huge change in your life. Even if you were the one who wanted the divorce because you believed that your marriage had broken down beyond repair, you will still probably feel a mix of emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and loss. Getting a divorce is a major life transition, and you not only lose your spouse as a life partner, but you may also lose your relationships with others who are associated with your spouse, such as their family and friends. Adjusting to this loss can take time.

#2: You Might Get Mixed Reactions From Family and Friends

Unfortunately, a divorce can bring out the worst in people, including your loved ones. You may find that some people in your family treat you differently, and you may also find that some of the people that you considered to be your friends will not be there for you when you need them. On the flip side, you may also find that some people that you were never really close to before may step forward and offer the love and support that you need.

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3 Reasons to Resort to Divorce Litigation

Posted on in Divorce

CO divorce lawyerMediation, negotiation, and collaborative divorce are typically the preferred options for resolving a divorce in modern times. They tend to save spouses time and money when they are already going through a difficult period of transition, along with their children. In most cases, it is suggested that spouses at least make an effort to settle their divorce outside the courtroom before resorting to litigation. Even couples who cannot tolerate each other’s presence can sometimes successfully reach agreements through attorney-facilitated communication. However, these alternative resolution techniques are not always practical - or a good idea. In some cases, you will need to go to divorce litigation just to achieve a fair result.

If you anticipate that your divorce will require litigation to solve, it is important that you find an attorney who will aggressively guard your interests in court.

3 Good Reasons to Proceed With Litigation in Your Divorce Action

There are divorce cases where some or all issues can only be resolved through a courtroom battle. Divorce courts exist for a reason. Sometimes an impartial judge is the best person to decide issues including property division, whether spousal support is appropriate, and child custody arrangements. Reasons your attorney may advise you to proceed with divorce litigation in a high-conflict case include:

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CO divorce lawyerGetting a divorce can be emotionally and financially draining even when both spouses are cooperative and interested in an amicable resolution. The process can be even more difficult in high-conflict cases. Litigation may be necessary to resolve certain disputed issues when an agreement cannot be reached.

Perhaps your spouse is being unreasonable and refusing to negotiate, or perhaps there is legitimate disagreement over who should keep certain marital assets. When divorce becomes a contentious battle rather than a collaborative process, it is especially important that you seek out strong legal counsel to advocate for you.

Options to Consider During Contentious Divorce Cases

You may feel as if your options are limited, but you could have more tools available than you think. When you are facing a high level of conflict during divorce, here are a few things to consider:

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CO family lawyerThe relationship between a child and her grandparents is special. Grandparents often play a pivotal role in a child’s upbringing, providing comfort, wisdom, and often, cookies. Colorado recognizes the importance of these relationships and is one of just a few states that has codified grandparents’ rights. However, these rights are not automatic - there is a family law process grandparents must follow in order to assert their rights, and there are certain circumstances that must exist.

If you are a grandparent and feel that you may need a court order to keep seeing your grandchildren, it is important to consult an attorney. The legal process for asserting grandparents’ rights can be tricky and you will want a strong legal advocate on your side.

When Can Grandparents’ Rights be Asserted?

In order for grandparents to assert their legal right to visitation with their grandchild, one of several qualifying circumstances must be present in your situation. These qualifying circumstances are:

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CO divorce lawyerWhen going through a divorce, each party may be considering what property or belongings they feel entitled to when the process is complete. While there are some states that allow for completely equal division of property, divorcing couples in Colorado will face equitable distribution. If you are considering a divorce, it may be in your best interest to seek legal counsel in order to better understand divorce laws in your area and reach a settlement that best suits your needs.

Colorado’s Equitable Distribution Law

In the state of Colorado, it is not automatically assumed that marital property is owned by both parties or that it will be divided equally in the event of a divorce. Instead, Colorado divorces follow the rules of equitable distribution. This means that marital property will be distributed in an equitable manner. Equitable distribution often grants the higher-earning spouse a larger portion of the assets in a divorce settlement.

There are many factors involved when a court is responsible for determining this type of property distribution. A judge will consider the economic situation of each spouse following the property division, the unique value of the property to each spouse and the contribution each spouse made to acquire the marital property. The contributions set forth by each party will also include the efforts made by a spouse as a homemaker.

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Colorado family law attorneyAt one time, divorced parents were able to arrange for childcare in whatever way they thought best during the times they had physical custody of their child. However, over the years, Colorado family laws have evolved and changed. One of the changes that were made was adding the right of first refusal for parents in custody and childcare situations. The law now requires parents who need to arrange for childcare to first offer the other parent the option of watching the child before they look for someone else to babysit.

How Does Right of First Refusal Work?

The goal of the change was to ensure the best interest of the child – which is the legal standard for all custody decisions – is always met. In the majority of cases, the courts believe that it is in the child’s best interest to spend as much time as possible with each parent, and that it is far better for a child to spend time with a parent than spend that same time with a babysitter or a nanny.

When parents are negotiating a parenting plan, either because of a divorce or custody case, the courts do allow them to come up with a practical way of implementing the right of first refusal. If they cannot agree on how it should be done, the court will come up with a plan for them.

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