Boulder Divorce Attorney
Whether you are considering divorce or were recently served divorce papers, Dolan + Zimmerman LLP can help you establish a plan of action. The divorce process is stressful and can quickly turn contentious due to the sensitive nature of the issues involved. Our Boulder divorce attorney will work tirelessly to help ease your burden and pursue the best outcome for you and your family. Send us a message online or call 303-593-1874 to set up your free consultation today.
Why Choose Our Firm for Your Divorce
Our team is well-versed in the nuances of Colorado family law and the most effective means of representing you and your best interests.
- We are honest and take the time to hear your situation so we may help you choose how to proceed with your case effectively.
- We are selective with our cases so that we can devote our full attention to every aspect of your divorce.
- We recognize the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of the personal information involved in a divorce.
- We make it a point to be transparent with our clients and remain in constant communication.
Why You Need a Boulder Divorce Lawyer
By enlisting the assistance of an experienced Boulder family law attorney, you will have:
Legal Knowledge and Support
Divorce attorneys have a thorough understanding of Colorado divorce laws and can give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your case. An attorney can also advise you on the full range of options available to you before determining the best strategy for your situation.
Taking this step will relieve an enormous burden since an attorney will take care of all the work for you. Divorce and other family law issues require piles of paperwork. If the paperwork is filed incorrectly, your case can be delayed or even thrown out. Hiring an attorney will allow you to focus on the next stage of your life with peace of mind.
A divorce attorney can act as an effective and unbiased mediator who can help relieve tension between the parties involved.
Divorce lawyers deal with divorces and other family issues daily. They know how the process goes and what it takes to resolve problems in the most efficient manner possible.
Complex Divorce Problems We Can Help You Solve
- Child custody and parenting time. We will help you establish and implement custody and visitation arrangements that are in the best interests of your children while protecting your rights as a parent. We will work to ensure joint legal custody so that you have the opportunity to participate in decisions regarding education, medical treatment, religious training, and other special needs.
- Child support. We will review all proposed child support orders for compliance with Colorado guidelines and confirm that all relevant income is included in the calculation. Speak to our Boulder child custody and child support lawyers for more information.
- Spousal maintenance or alimony. We will help you determine whether spousal maintenance is necessary and, if so, how much should be paid and for how long.
- Asset division. Our lawyers will help you equitably divide the debts and assets of your marriage, including real and personal property, investments and bank accounts, retirement funds, and business assets.
- Post-divorce enforcement and modifications. If your ex-spouse is not following the terms of your divorce decree or judgment, we can help you take legal action. If your family’s circumstances have changed, we can also help you address modifications of your divorce decree.
Grounds for Divorce in Colorado
Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that a court will not look into why a divorce is occurring or why the marriage failed. To grant a divorce, the court must only find that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This means the marriage cannot be repaired, and only one party has to believe it. Colorado has a mandatory 90-day waiting period before the court can enter a divorce decree. This time allows couples to make sure their marriage is, in fact, irretrievably broken.
There is an additional stipulation to get a divorce in Colorado, which is residency requirements. Either spouse must have been a resident of Colorado for at least 90 days before filing the petition. If the case concerns a minor child, the child must have resided in the state for at least 182 days.
Types of Divorce Available in Colorado
In general, there are five ways to dissolve a marriage in Colorado:
Both spouses agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken, and neither spouse is holding the other responsible for the end of their marriage. They will decide how to divide up their assets, figure out child custody and visitation, and any other legal issues. Once they reach a “separation agreement,” they can submit it to the court. If children are not involved, they can include a non-appearance affidavit to receive approval from the court without appearing in person.
There are many benefits to resolving your divorce through an uncontested process, including:
- You will save time and money. Contested divorces can take months or even years to resolve, and they are often very expensive. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in a matter of weeks or months, and it will cost a fraction of what a contested divorce would cost.
- You will have more control over the outcome of your case. In a contested divorce, the judge will make all decisions regarding child custody, property division, spousal support, and other important issues. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will make these decisions yourselves.
- You will be able to avoid the stress and anxiety that comes with a contested divorce. A contested divorce can be very emotionally charged, but an uncontested divorce is typically much less stressful.
- You will be able to maintain a good relationship with your ex-spouse. If you have children together, it is especially important to be able to maintain a good relationship with your ex-spouse for their sake. An uncontested divorce will allow you to do this.
- You will be able to move on with your life more quickly. Once your uncontested divorce is finalized, you will be free to move on with your life without having to worry about ongoing litigation.
Mediation is available to give couples the chance to negotiate the terms of their divorce with the help of an unbiased third party (usually a lawyer or retired judge). The mediator listens to each side to help them find a situation that works best for both parties.
If you choose to mediate your Colorado divorce, you and your spouse will meet with a mediator who will help you come to an agreement on the terms of your divorce. Some of the things you’ll need to decide include how to divide your assets and debts, whether one spouse will pay alimony (spousal support), and how to handle custody and visitation (parenting time) if you have minor children together.
When spouses can reach an agreement, the mediator brings a signed document of proof to the court.
When a couple cannot agree on the terms of their separation, leaving marital issues unsolved, a judge may be assigned to make these decisions for the couple. The court will decide on child support, child custody, dividing marital assets, and spousal maintenance.
If you’re considering a litigated divorce in Colorado, here’s what you can expect from the process:
- File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: The first step in the process is for one spouse to file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. This document will include the grounds for divorce and set forth any other relevant information, such as whether there are minor children from the marriage and if so, what type of custody arrangement is being requested.
- Serve Your Spouse: Once the petition has been filed, your spouse must be served. This can be done by delivering it personally or having it delivered by a professional process server. Once your spouse has been served with the petition, they will have to file a response with the court.
- Exchange Financial Documents: The next step is to exchange financial documents with your spouse. This includes things like tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and credit card statements. This information will be used by each spouse to determine their individual financial needs and obligations as well as to identify any assets or debts that need to be divided between them.
- Attend Mediation: In many cases, the court will require divorcing spouses to attend mediation in an effort to resolve their differences without having to go to trial. During mediation, both spouses will meet with a neutral third party who will help them try to reach an agreement on outstanding issues. If mediation is unsuccessful, then the case will proceed to trial.
- Go to Trial: If mediation is unsuccessful or not required by the court, then the case will proceed to trial where a judge will hear evidence and arguments from both sides before making a ruling on disputed issues.
- Enter Divorce Decree: Once all outstanding issues have been resolved either through mediation or trial, the judge will issue a divorce decree that formalizes the terms of the divorce and makes it official in the eyes of the law.
How Does a Judge Make Their Decision in a Colorado Litigated Divorce?
If you are currently going through a Colorado-litigated divorce, you may be wondering how the judge makes their decision on issues related to your children. The judge will consider various factors when making their decisions, including but not limited to the following:
The Best Interests of the Child: The judge will always consider the best interests of the child when making any decisions related to custody and visitation. This includes things like the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s adjustment to their home and school life, and each parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child.
The Wishes of the Child: If the child is old enough to express a preference, the judge will take that into consideration when making custody and visitation decisions. However, the child’s wishes are just one factor among many, and the judge is not required to follow them.
The Ability of Each Parent to Cooperate: The judge will also consider each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent when making custody and visitation decisions. This includes things like whether each parent is willing to communicate with the other parent about decisions related to the child, whether each parent is willing to put the needs of the child above their own, and whether each parent has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
What Is Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is a type of dispute resolution in which both parties and their attorneys commit to resolving the case without going to court. The process is voluntary, and all decisions are made jointly by the divorcing couple. If at any point either party decides they want to go to court, the attorneys are required to withdraw from the case.
The collaborative divorce process usually involves several face-to-face meetings with the divorcing couple and their attorneys. During these meetings, the couple will work together to come to an agreement on all aspects of their divorce, including the division of assets and custody arrangements for any minor children. The goal is to reach a settlement that is satisfactory to both parties involved.
Is Collaborative Divorce Right for You?
Not every couple is a good candidate for collaborative divorce. If you and your spouse are not able to communicate effectively or collaborate on decision-making, then this process is likely not right for you. Collaborative divorce also requires a certain level of trust between the divorcing parties; if there are issues of control or mistrust present, then collaborative divorce may not be successful.
A couple divides assets and lives separately but remains married. Filing for a legal separation will require the same amount of time and effort as obtaining a divorce. However, a separation can be reversed if you reconcile, where divorce is permanent.
To file for legal separation, you or your spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 90 days.
What Are the Benefits of Legal Separation?
There are several benefits of legal separation, including but not limited to:
1) giving couples time apart to decide if they want to continue their marriage;
2) allowing couples to remain on their spouse’s insurance;
3) permitting couples to file joint tax returns; and
4) allowing couples to keep certain benefits such as military benefits or social security benefits.
90 Day Waiting Period For Legal Separation in Colorado
To become legally separated in Colorado, you must first go through a waiting period. The 90-day waiting period for legal separation begins on the date that the paperwork is filed with the court. During this time, the court will not issue a final order approving the separation agreement. This gives couples time to work out any outstanding issues and come to an agreement without having to go to court. If an agreement is reached during this period, the couple can submit their agreement to the court for approval. If no agreement is reached, then either party can request a hearing in front of a judge.
At the hearing, each party will present their case and the judge will make a decision about how to divide property and debt, who will pay spousal support, and how custody and visitation will be handled. It’s important to note that if you go to court, there is no guarantee that the judge will rule in your favor. That’s why it’s always best to try to reach an agreement with your spouse before going to court.
How to Make Sure Your Separation Goes Smoothly
If you’re hoping to avoid going to court, there are a few things you can do to make sure your separation goes as smoothly as possible:
- Communicate with your spouse: Open communication is key when it comes time to negotiate the terms of your separation agreement. Make sure you sit down with your spouse and discuss all the important details so that there are no surprises later on.
- Hire an experienced family law attorney: A good attorney will be able to guide you through the legal process and help make sure that all your rights are protected. They can also answer any questions you have along the way and help resolve any issues that may come up during negotiations.
- Have realistic expectations: Going into negotiations with unrealistic expectations will only set you up for disappointment down the road – remember that you’re trying to reach an agreement with another person, not win some sort of competition.
Are There Unique Considerations for Same-Sex Couples?
Although divorces are generally conducted the same way for same-sex couples, there may be different rules regarding child custody. The spouses or partners may have to answer questions regarding how the child was conceived if he or she was born during the marriage, and whether one or both spouses legally adopted them. Individuals who have significant disagreements about matters related to their children should contact a divorce attorney for advice and guidance.
Speak to a Boulder Divorce Attorney for Help
If you are considering filing for divorce or legal separation, it is essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney who will help you understand your rights and options. Contact Dolan + Zimmerman LLP to schedule a free consultation today.