Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney

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Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney

Colorado Springs Family Law Lawyer

Divorce rates vary state by state. Colorado’s rate of divorce is the 15th highest in the country, with  3% of adult women ending marriage every year on average. Nobody enters marriage with the intention of divorcing, but realities like incompatibility, neglect, and other factors can strain relationships to the breaking point. If you are contemplating divorce or were recently served notice of a divorce case, your Colorado Springs family law attorney is here to help.

At The Law Center, P.C., in Colorado Springs, our family law lawyers have many years of experience in negotiating and litigating domestic relations matters in Colorado. We provide high-quality and compassionate legal representation to guide you through difficult times toward a brighter future.

What Types of Cases Require a Family Law Attorney?

The Colorado Family Code is a complex and evolving set of laws that govern family-related matters in Colorado Springs and across the state. The state’s family code covers domestic matters such as divorce, marriage, child support, child custody, paternity, adoption, and domestic violence.

The code details family members’ rights and responsibilities and provides guidance on resolving disputes while protecting children and vulnerable individuals. Your family law attorney in Colorado Springs can help you navigate any of these complex legal issues.

  • Child custody and visitation: Before a divorce can be finalized, the courts will expect to see a final visitation and custody agreement that both parents agree to. Resolving custody issues is one of the most important parts of any divorce, and coming to an agreement is not always easy. Following a divorce, both parents will likely see their children less often than they did while still married. A Colorado Springs family law attorney can offer creative solutions for crafting parenting schedules.
  • Child support: In many cases, the courts will order child support to ensure that children are able to maintain reasonable living standards. The courts may order child support in cases where one spouse earns considerably more than the other. The amount of custody time is another factor because the parent spending more time parenting often incurs higher costs that may require help from the other parent.
  • Spousal support: Also known as alimony, spousal support is awarded when the court deems it reasonable and necessary. Usually, this means that one spouse needs the assistance, and the other spouse has the means to pay. The length of the marriage is one factor the court will consider. Spousal support is usually temporary or long-term. In some cases, the judge may order spousal support for the duration of the divorce proceedings.
  • Post-decree modification: Some areas of a divorce decree are more likely to need to be altered and updated than others. A family law attorney in Colorado Springs can help you go back to court to modify child support, spousal maintenance, and parenting time. To modify a divorce decree, one parent will have to show the court that there has been a substantial change in the lives of the parent and children since the decree was signed.
  • Business division: When either spouse or both own a business, it is often their most important asset. A business has current value but also future potential earnings that one spouse may rely on. During a divorce, there is always the danger that a business may not survive. Your family law attorney can work to negotiate favorable settlement terms that save your business
  • Division of property: The goal of property division through the courts is to divide the marital assets and property in an equitable and fair manner. For many divorces, this means equally. Both parties can agree on how that division looks. When the parties cannot decide on how to divide assets, a judge will make that decision.
  • Domestic partnerships: Colorado acknowledges domestic partnerships. Couples who were never formally married but cohabitated for a significant period of time and lived like a married couple still face custody and property division issues when they separate.
  • Paternity: Fathers who were not married to the mother of a child or were estranged from the mother are often at a disadvantage when seeking visitation and custody rights of children. One of the first steps that needs to be completed before parental rights can be formally established is proving paternity. A family law attorney can help with the process of helping a dad to be adjudicated as the father of a child.

Family law cases are often complicated and emotional. Having legal representation throughout the process can help protect your rights and interests.

How Are Asset Divisions Handled in Colorado?

Colorado is an equitable distribution state. This means that property is divided fairly, not necessarily equally. The final order will determine who retains which assets and debts. Judges consider several factors when dividing assets in an equitable manner. Depending on the circumstances, the courts may not agree to a down-the-middle 50/50 division of assets, although many divorces come close to achieving that.

Colorado’s family courts do not consider who is at fault for causing a divorce when dividing assets. Issues relating to cheating, lying, and abuse may be factors when it comes to parenting and visitation rights, but they are not considered during the division of the estate.

Factors that a judge may consider include:

  • The financial contributions made by each spouse in acquiring marital property
  • The economic situation (earning capacity) of each spouse
  • Depletion of separate property for marital purposes
  • Increase or decrease in the value of separate property

Being a stay-at-home parent does not mean that a spouse is less able to claim a right to a fair portion of marital assets. Colorado family law accounts for a spouse’s contributions as a homemaker. The courts have latitude in deciding what an equitable distribution of property looks like for each case. Although an equitable distribution of assets sounds straightforward, there can often be quite a lot to argue over in court.

Marital vs. Separate Property

When deciding which assets and debts are eligible for equitable division during a divorce, the courts will consider what constitutes marital or separate property. Generally speaking, anything that is acquired during a marriage is marital. Examples of potential marital property include:

  • Real property (homes, land, buildings)
  • Mortgage debt
  • Home equity
  • Credit card debt
  • Vehicle
  • Bonds
  • Bank account balances

Whether or not both spouses worked throughout the marriage generally does not change how marital property is viewed by the courts. The state views a married couple as equal partners. Any debt or assets that were acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses and should be divided in an equitable manner.

Separate Property

Separate property refers to any property or assets that belong outright to one individual. This could include gifts that one spouse received from someone else before or during a marriage. Land that a spouse inherited from a deceased family member during the marriage would also be considered separate property.

Separate property is transferable, meaning that anything that is separate property continues to be even when the form of the property or asset changes. One example would be a car that a spouse owned before marriage. If the spouse sells that car and buys a boat using the proceeds from the sale of the car, the boat is also considered separate property. From the date of a legal separation, any new assets or debt that is acquired would likely be considered separate property.

Deciding what is separate or marital property can have huge implications for the outcome of your case. Depending on the amount of separate property involved, one spouse could end up with significantly more assets once the divorce is finalized.

The general rule is that assets and property owned by both spouses at the time of the divorce filing are considered marital property. The burden of proving that property is separate usually falls on the spouse who makes that claim. Your family law attorney in Colorado Springs can help you prove that certain assets and property are yours outright and not subject to division by the family courts.

What Is Tracing?

In order to prove that certain assets and property are separate and not marital property, you may have to rely on an accounting process known as tracing. Tracking the changing form of an asset over time sometimes requires a bit of investigation and potentially the help of a financial firm.

One example is when assets can be traced back to before marriage. If one spouse sold stock to purchase real estate, the purchaser would have to use evidence to show that the property was paid for using stock funds that preceded the date of the marriage. The process of following money can become complicated, to say the least, especially when the appreciation or depreciation of the asset is taken into account.

For assets that are significant, taking time to research and investigate the path an asset follows can be well worth it. Once the courts acknowledge that a piece of property is separate property, you will not have to divide that asset between yourself and your spouse. You will own it outright.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Colorado?

Disputes over parenting time can be the most emotionally challenging part of a divorce case. Parents understandably want to maximize time with their children, and emotions toward the other spouse can be raw. An experienced family attorney in Colorado Springs can guide you through these emotionally difficult decisions.

Colorado’s courts have done away with the term custody when deciding which parents have the child on which days. The courts found that the term custody was divisive and often left one parent feeling like their parental rights had been unfairly diminished. Instead, the family courts refer to parental responsibilities and parenting time as a means of encouraging both parents to participate actively in the child’s life. Although the divorcing couple will no longer be spouses, they will both still be parents.

Parental responsibilities that will be determined during a divorce include:

  • Physical custody, care, and control
  • Parenting time
  • Decisions regarding education
  • Decisions regarding medical

The courts and state legislature have made the goal of equal parenting time clear. The presumption is that equal parenting is in the best interest of children. When determining parental responsibilities, the court may order evaluators to determine how well one parent is able and willing to co-parent.

Child Support Obligations

Colorado’s family courts expect both parents to contribute to the support of their children. When determining child support, the courts may consider:

  • The number of children belonging to the spouses
  • The parents’ income
  • Daycare costs
  • Health insurance and healthcare costs
  • Disparities between the earning potential of both parents

Your Colorado Springs family law attorney will work toward a fair child support agreement that works in the best interest of your child. The penalties for not paying child support can be significant. Once the court orders one parent to pay child support, the order must be followed.

How Do I Find a Good Attorney in Colorado?

Finding a good attorney in Colorado Springs is crucial to having a favorable outcome for your case. The consequences of hiring an inexperienced attorney can be life-changing, so it is necessary to do as much research as possible when making your decision. Start by asking friends and relatives for referrals. Read online testimonials to see what past clients have said about a law firm.

Consider how long a law firm has been in practice and whether that firm offers complementary legal services. For example, if your spouse has a criminal record or you believe they committed family violence, working with a firm that practices criminal law can have advantages. Working with a law firm that offers multiple services in-house can help you navigate a complex case without having to work with multiple law firms.


Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Colorado?

A: A wife is entitled to an equitable portion of the marital assets acquired over the length of the marriage, including debts. The exception to this would be any gifts or inheritance the other spouse received during the marriage. During the divorce process, both parties can come to a mutual agreement on which assets and debt belong to whom. If both parties cannot come to an agreement on how to divide an estate, a judge will make that decision.

Q: Who Has to Leave the House in a Divorce in Colorado?

A: The State of Colorado does not have a law dictating which spouse has to leave the family home. If both spouse’s names are on the lease or mortgage, neither can be forced to leave. A judge may issue a temporary order that determines where the child stays and which parent is better suited to stay in the house. Ideally, both parties would work together to come to a mutual agreement on where they live while the divorce is pending

Q: Does a Wife Get Half of a 401k in Divorce Colorado?

A: In Colorado, a 401(k) plan is likely to be considered marital property. Anything of value that is acquired during marriage, including retirement accounts, is generally considered marital property. Unless there are specific terms that both parties have previously agreed to, such as through a prenuptial agreement, the courts will likely divide the 401(k) plan equitably. This may amount to half of the accrued value of the retirement account in some cases.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Half of Retirement in Colorado?

A: Retirement accounts are generally considered marital property. During a divorce, the courts will consider how long you were married when deciding what percentage of certain assets can be divided. If you were married for 10 years, the assets that accrued through one spouse’s retirement account during that time would likely be considered marital property and subject to equitable division during divorce.

Q: Does Colorado Have a Mandatory Waiting Period Before Divorce?

A: Colorado has a mandatory 90-day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. The waiting period begins when the case is successfully filed. The divorce will not be finalized until the 90 days have elapsed. Even then, the divorce may not be finalized if both parties have not come to an agreement on all matters that must be settled. A divorce can only be finalized once both parties agree to the terms of the divorce or a judge makes that ruling for them.

Schedule Your Colorado Family Law Attorney Consultation Today

Going through a divorce can create feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. It is important to remember that the family court system is not there to work against you. By working with an experienced family law attorney in Colorado Springs, you can settle your divorce with favorable outcomes that allow you to start a new phase of your life.

The attorneys at The Law Center P.C. in Colorado Springs are here to help guide you through the process. Our legal team can provide the comprehensive legal assistance you need. To schedule your consultation, contact our office today.

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