Cherry Creek Divorce Lawyer
Cherry Creek Divorce Lawyers Skilled in High Asset Divorce Cases
Divorce cases involving complicated financial difficulties necessitate the services of an experienced and qualified law firm that can recognize and resolve the complexities. Our Cherry Creek divorce lawyers have extensive experience in settling and fighting cases involving significant financial issues. Our attorneys at our elite litigation firm are skilled at deciphering the nuances that frequently emerge in high-asset divorces, as well as other complicated disputes.
Our exceptionally experienced and professional Cherry Creek divorce attorneys at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton can tackle even the most complicated matters with ease. You can be confident that you’re in excellent hands because of our deep understanding of Colorado family law. Please call 303-951-4506 or fill out our online intake form to schedule a consultation with us.
Divorce in Cherry Creek
In order for a Colorado court to dissolve the marriage and provide permanent orders settling all difficulties, the following prerequisites must be met.
- Prior to filing a divorce petition, at least one spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days.
- The summons has been served on one spouse for at least 91 days.
- The respondent spouse is subject to Colorado’s jurisdiction.
- If there are children involved, they have lived in Colorado for at least 181 days.
The court has subject matter power to issue a dissolution or legal separation ruling if the first two prerequisites are met. Even if the court has jurisdiction to execute a judgment of dissolution of marriage, if one of the latter two is missing, the court may lack authority to divide marital assets and debts, issue parenting orders, or compel the respondent spouse to pay child support or alimony.
Under Colorado law, there are multiple ways to form a marriage, as well as various ways to dissolve one, all of which need a court decree. Divorce, or the dissolution of marriage, is the most traditional and often used alternative. Couples, on the other hand, can get a formal separation or, in rare cases, an annulment.
Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but the regulations and processes are very similar since they are all governed by the same set of laws. Finally, the court will resolve any unresolved issues, including child custody, marital estate distribution, maintenance, and child support. To learn more about the divorce process in Colorado, speak with one of our Denver divorce lawyers.
Understanding the Divorce Process
Dissolution of Marriage PetitionThe first step is to prepare the documents for filing with the court. Being the Petitioner or Respondent has no advantages or disadvantages, with the exception of any issues concerning Colorado’s jurisdiction over a spouse. You can also file as Co-Petitioners if you choose. A judge will not treat a divorce initiator any differently from a spouse who did not initiate the divorce. It makes no difference how the caption is written on the pleading. Following the filing of the first petitions, the other spouse must either be served with the paperwork or sign a waiver of service, which starts a formal 91-day clock before the court may issue a dissolution order. However, as previously indicated, the majority of instances take significantly longer. It’s a rare situation in which both spouses are completely cooperative, all disclosures have been done, all agreements have been signed, and all they’re waiting for is the court to issue the decree on day 91.
Financial DisclosureWhen the process first starts, each spouse must submit a sworn financial statement and provide significant financial disclosures. Your lawyer will tell you what information you need to provide. These initial financial disclosures are essential in all instances, even if everything has been agreed upon. This is because, even if the spouses have reached a comprehensive agreement, the court must still evaluate if the settlement is fair and not unreasonable before it can be approved.
Initial Status ConferenceWithin 40 days of the petition for dissolution being submitted, the court will hold an Initial Status Conference to set deadlines for disclosures, expert appointments, and, if necessary, a temporary orders court date. The ISC lasts around 10 minutes, and the partners will only have small, if any, speaking parts. If both spouses have legal counsel, they can file a Stipulated Case Management Plan that allows them to set their own deadlines. There is no need for anyone to take breaks and appear in court as a result of this. The ISC is necessary if one spouse does not have legal counsel and cannot be averted with a stipulation.
DiscoveryA spouse may seek further disclosures or evidence if there is a concern that an asset has disappeared, there are worries about where debts began, or there is a need to look at a spouse’s educational or career background to decide an appropriate income to impute. Some of the info you can obtain is included below.
- Interrogatories that both parties have to answer.
- Interrogatories are usually accompanied by requests for the preparation of documents. Inquiries for credit card or pay stub information, medical data, and other documents are common.
- Inspections are then conducted for appraisals or inventory reasons.
- Spouses may seek a second opinion concerning their spouse’s medical or mental health. This frequently happens when one of the spouses claims to be unable to work.
Temporary OrdersIf the spouses cannot agree on any important issues and do not want to wait for the entire contested final orders hearing, the court can issue interim orders that will only be in effect until the divorce is finalized. Each side gets roughly 25 minutes to plead their case, plus the time for the court to rule, during a temporary orders hearing. Additional witnesses are rarely summoned at this stage since there isn’t much time for questioning of the client and cross examination of the other.
Permanent OrdersThis final round of the case normally takes 6 to 9 months to complete. If your case is undisputed but you have children and one spouse does not have legal representation, you will be required to have a rapid uncontested permanent orders hearing before a judge, where the court will review the agreements. Both spouses will be called to the stand and testify under oath. An uncontested permanent orders hearing is usually held roughly 6 months after the divorce proceedings begin. If your case is contentious, you will very certainly have a half-day contested permanent orders hearing, during which the spouses will have more time to make their case, including time for more witnesses, a childcare expert, and so on. A full-day hearing is feasible, but it needs agreement from both counsel, and even then, the court may call the attorneys for a status conference to clarify why more time is needed. A contested half-day permanent orders hearing takes around 9 months to complete, and a full-day hearing might take up to a year.
Settlement MeetingsDue to Colorado’s preference for settlement over litigation, the spouses will be required to meet and discuss the subject outside of the courtroom before being allowed to take up time on the crowded docket. The same prudence that applies to court proceedings should be used here. Some of these may not apply in situations when complaints are handled quickly.
Is It Necessary to Attend a Divorce Hearing?In Colorado, a divorce decree can be obtained without ever having to visit a courthouse. If you want to avoid going to court, consulting and working with a Cherry Creek divorce lawyer is the most reliable way to achieve your goal. Even if all appropriate documentation has been completed and full agreement has been reached, the parties will be obliged to attend a speedy, final hearing unless they have filed an “affidavit for decree without the presence of parties.” This documentation merely tells the court that all of the necessary documents have been filed and asks that the divorce decree be granted without the need for anybody to appear in person. This Affidavit may only be used to prevent going to court if there are no young children from the marriage, or if there are children, both sides have Cherry Creek divorce lawyers advising them in the divorce.
How to Prepare for DivorceBoth mental and physical preparations are required for divorce proceedings due to their complex nature. Before beginning the divorce procedure, we recommend making the following preparations.
- Consult your divorce lawyer about alternative options. It isn’t always required to go to court to get a divorce. Mediation and uncontested divorce are less unpleasant options.
- Organize your financial situation. The division of assets is typically the most thorny issue in any divorce. Decide which assets you wish to keep and where you’re willing to make concessions.
- Get your supporting documentation ready. Including information on your wages, household payments, and pre-marital assets, among other things. Bring out your prenuptial agreement if you have one.
- Calculate the expenses of not being married for yourself. Calculate how much your single life will cost you based on your financial status. Do you have a place to stay or would you rather keep your home? If you have kids, you may find that alimony and child support are insufficient to sustain your new lifestyle. So think about the adjustments you’ll have to make in the future.
Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation
There are substantial differences between a divorce and a separation. The most obvious distinction is that during a legal separation in Colorado, you remain married, however after a divorce, your marriage is dissolved. There are a few more distinctions to make, which we list below.
Divorce vs Legal Separation: Differences
- Health care and other benefits: Legal separation allows you to preserve your health insurance and other interests, such as some social security benefits that you would lose if you divorced.
- Marriage status: You can preserve your marital status with legal separation, which means you can’t marry again until you’re divorced.
- Financial and medical decisions: Divorced spouses are not considered relatives and are unable to make medical or financial decisions for one another.
- Liabilities and debts: When debts are addressed throughout the dissolution process, unlike a divorce, spouses may still be accountable for the responsibilities of the other.
- Property division: Legal separation preserves each spouse’s legal rights to property benefits in the case of the other’s death, whereas divorce eliminates these rights.
- Remarriage: Divorce is irreversible. Formal separation, on the other hand, makes reunion easier. You’ll have to remarry if you want a legal reunion after a divorce.
Divorce vs Legal Separation: Similarities
- Alimony, child support, and other legal issues
- Child custody decisions
- Visitation rights for both parents
- Property division based on the best interest of each party
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative Divorce is a form of dispute resolution in which the spouses actively reach a deal about all issues with the assistance of a team of professionals, which includes an attorney, a coach, and, if necessary, a child expert or financial consultant.
Collaborative divorce attorneys have obtained specialized training in alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative divorce. Instead of traditional adversarial litigation, the separating parties agree to use a collaborative approach to negotiation and settlement, avoiding the time and expense of going to court. The collaborative divorce procedure results in a settlement that is included in the final divorce.
Alimony in Colorado
Mandatory maintenance and contracted and non-modifiable maintenance are the two types of alimony. A court can only award statutory support, which includes interim maintenance while the divorce is being finalized. Contractual and non-modifiable maintenance can only be agreed upon by the divorced parties.
Statutory maintenance is frequently awarded when a judge gives permanent orders and the marriage is terminated. Spousal maintenance may be granted if a couple divorces formally. Spousal support in Colorado is computed as a proportion of the duration of the marriage.
Colorado family law has not abolished permanent alimony except for elderly or disabled spouses, as other states have. In marriages that last longer than 20 years, spousal maintenance might be paid throughout the rest of the spouse’s life.
Property Division in Divorce
Colorado is not a common-property state when it comes to divorce. If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on their own, Colorado is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will divide property in a method that is determined fair to both parties, but not automatically equal. Colorado is also a dual-property state, meaning that property can be both marital and nonmarital.
When considering property distribution after a legal separation or dissolution of marriage, there are two types of property to consider: marital property and separate property. In most circumstances, marital property is property acquired by either spouse after the marriage. After the marital property has been declared to be marital property, the Court decides how to divide it. Individuals maintain ownership of their property.
Marital property is divided in Colorado irrespective of marital fault or misconduct. Property is divided in an equitable or fair manner by the Court, which does not always imply that the property is divided evenly. When considering how to divide marital property, the Court considers all relevant factors.
Parental Responsibility and Child Custody
The state of Colorado does not allow for joint or sole custody. In Colorado family law, the term “parental responsibility” is used, and it might be shared or primary. If you alternate overnight visits with the minor kid, you have shared parenting responsibility. If one parent has less than 90 overnight visits with the minor kid, the other parent is considered to be the primary caregiver.
In the same way, Colorado family law differentiates between residential and decision-making obligations. When one parent has sole decision-making authority over a minor kid, that parent is free to make all major decisions without consulting the other parent. Joint decision-making responsibility refers to when both parents are in charge of making decisions.
Contact a Cherry Creek Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering divorcing your spouse, you will need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. Working with a law firm that has substantial legal knowledge in their field is critical. To discuss your situation, contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton now. Call our Denver CO office at 303-951-4506 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.