Divorce and Family Law
- Domestic Litigation (Family Law) Family law is a complex and highly specialized practice area. Family law is more than just divorce. Family law incorporates issues of custody, finance, and property. Custody, now called “parental responsibility” in Colorado, addresses the particular issues involving children. Parental responsibility issues do not just occur with married couples. Unwed parents also require legal intervention for issues of parentage. These issues include but are not limited to: parenting time, decision-making authority, and the financial responsibility for minors. Financially, family law ensures that both parties are provided enough monthly income to support their reasonable needs. As to property, Colorado courts require an equitable division of all marital assets and debts. Domestic litigation matters involve personal relationships. These personal relationships must be managed with acumen for thoughtful, practical, and reasonable resolution. Smart and sensible outcomes will provide the best opportunity for healthy personal relationships involving your children, x-spouse, and significant others.
- Divorce: Divorce can be a difficult and painful process for all concerned. It can be a trying time filled with doubt, concern, and psychological turmoil. It is important to equip yourself with a knowledgable attorney that can support you and your family throughout this process. There are 3 main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership: divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Colorado is a "no fault" state which means marital indiscretions are irrelevant in the eyes of the court.
- Legal Separation: Very similar to a divorce where parties determine parental responsibilities, division of property and maintenance but they can at times maintain insurance or retirement-related benefits. A legal separation does not legally terminate the marriage. Parties who are legally separated, but not divorced, cannot remarry.
- Domestic Partnership: Common Law marriages and non-traditional marriages.
- Maintenance In Colorado, the legal term "maintenance" has replaced the term "alimony". Maintenance is the support paid by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse. The amount and duration of maintenance depends on various factors.
- Child Custody, Parental Responsibility, and Parenting Time: Colorado has replaced the terms "custody" and "visitation" with the term "allocation of parental responsibility", which includes "decision-making authority" and "parenting time". Decision-making authority and parenting time are determined by what is in a child's "best interests". While this may sound confusing, similar to custody, decision-making authority refers to who makes major decisions affecting the children, such as education, religious, extracurricular, and non-emergency medical decisions. Similar to visitation, a parent has parenting time when the children are in their care. Colorado courts require "parenting plans" that allocate both decision-making authority and parenting time to one or both parents. I can help you develop a parenting plan that meets your objectives and is in your children's best interests.
- Child Support: A component of the state mandated financial responsibilities to the child/children. Child support is calculated according to a formula which takes into account each party's gross incomes and the amount of parenting time as well as other factors.
- Parenting Plan: Parenting plans are created in the best interest of the children. It is important to have a colaborative process in which both parents work together to create a fair plan that is in the children's best interest.
- Mediation: A nuetral third party assisting the parties involved in resolution of their differences.
- Modifications: A change in the current court orders.
- Marital Agreements include: (Pre-Post Nuptual Agreements) Prior to marriage the parties enter into a written agreement where by their individual or separate property interests are resolved. Post nuptial are created after marriage.
Additional Areas of Practice
- Criminal Law: There are four alcohol-related traffic offenses: driving under the influence (DUI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), driving with excessive alcohol content (DUI per se), and underage drinking and driving (UDD). Multiple and varied facts and circumstances direct the management and resolution of these offenses. Misdemeanor criminal matters are minor wrongdoings of a lesser offense than felonies but more serious than infractions. In Colorado, the district attorney has a great degree of flexibility in deciding what crimes to charge, how to punish them, and what kinds of plea bargains to negotiate. Misdemeanors are punishable by county or local jail terms up to 18 months. Typically Colorado misdemeanors are designated as Class 1, 2, or 3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-501 states the law on misdemeanor penalties.
Criminal convictions are not trivial matters and require an experienced attorney to help navigate the potential serious consequences. An attorney is vital to explain the charges, the judge and prosecutor, and what to expect in court.
- Juvenile Law: Juvenile issues require timely and effective interventions to ensure children maintain important and necessary relationships with his or her family, school, and community whenever possible. Because juveniles are not adults their criminal matters are treated much differently in the court system. The Colorado Children’s Code mandates the juvenile justice system ensure care, guidance, and services that will ensure the child’s welfare and societies’ interests. Consequently, not all children who get in trouble need the same consequences. Depending on circumstances, level of involvement, severity, and prior record, each matter is reviewed with particularity to determine if the delinquent meets the requirement for Juvenile Diversion, or requires firmer consequences like sentencing to the Department of Youth Corrections. Your or your child’s matter can best be managed with the assistance of an attorney skilled in juvenile law.
- Wills and Trusts: Many legal and tax based strategies are involved when drafting trusts, wills, and estate planning. Legal documents involving healthcare decisions also play an important role in managing one’s life’s goals. When considering planning for your future, your children’s future, and end-of-life decisions, you need an attorney with practical and individually scoped options.