Family Law Links:
four potential areas to be
determined in every
divorce are division of
property and debts, spousal maintenance,
parenting time and
responsibility, and child
Kurtz & Peckham has specialized in all facets of family law
for over 25 years. Katy Kurtz and Mary Peckham and the firm’s legal team take
pride in providing personal time and attention to each client finding him or
herself facing the prospect of divorce. We believe in working with each client
to design an individual solution to his or her particular concerns. We are well
aware that this is a stressful time in a person’s life and we are committed to
treating both our clients and the process with integrity, compassion and
competence. If required, we will litigate any matter that can not be resolved ,
but we are not in a rush to try every issue, finding that in most cases
(although certainly not all) the parties and their attorneys can craft better
solutions over time than a Judge who hears only a small portion of the actual
OVERVIEW OF COLORADO
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From start to finish, a divorce case (dissolution of
marriage) takes anywhere from three months to over a year, depending on the
court (the county where the parties reside), the parties’ approaches, and the
complexity of the case. The average time is about seven months. The soonest you
can be divorced is ninety (90) days from the date of filing and service (date
one spouse is served or signed a waiver of service, or the date of filing the
case if you file as co-petitioners). Colorado divorce is not based on the
wrong-doing of either party. Instead it is a “no fault” state. The standard for
dissolution is that the marriage is “irreconcilably broken”. If either party
feels this to be the case, in time the dissolution will take place. One party
may object and assert that the marriage is not irreconcilably broke, but as long
as the other party insists it is, the dissolution will move forward.
Every dissolution has no more than
four (4) possible areas to be addressed legally:
The Division of Property and Debt.
This involves the initial
determination of whether a particular property (real or personal) is
separate property or marital property. The same is true of debts. Once separate
property is determined, the remaining marital property (and debts) need to be
Spousal Maintenance. The threshold question here is whether one
spouse is “a candidate for maintenance” and there are statutory guidelines to
help determine this. The question then becomes how much would he/she be paid by
the paying spouse and for how long a time period. (See
Parental Responsibility (formerly called child custody) and Parenting Time
This area deals with how the two parents will deal
with the raising of their children, who will have what responsibilities and
obligations and where the children will live. (See
Parenting Time page)
4. Child Support. This final area addresses the amount one parent may
pay to the other for child support, how it is determined, how it is paid and for
how long. Child support is statutorily mandated and there are guidelines to
ascertain amounts owed in the majority of cases. (See
Child Support page)
The topics of parental responsibility, parenting time and
child support are areas the courts are very concerned with. While the divorcing
parties are free to agree to just about anything between themselves (as long as
it is not unconscionable), the judge will not allow them to do this concerning
the children if he/she does not think an agreement is in the children’s best
interests. This is particularly true with regards to child support.
Virtually every issue in a divorce, with the exception of
abuse issues and/or illegal behavior (ie. One person is already married and
never divorced the first spouse) will fit into one of the above four categories.
The issue of abuse may be dealt with by obtaining a restraining order or by the
use of the criminal courts or in rare cases by the filing of a civil lawsuit or
a state initiated Dependency and Neglect action to protect the children.
To prepare yourself to handle your divorce do these three
things AND remember misconceptions are just that.
1) Get your
own life under control. Lean on your social support system, seek professional
help if appropriate, and be especially compassionate with your self.
Communicate with your children and support them through the process. Children,
depending on their ages, need to be consistently re-assured that they are not
being divorced and that they will still be loved and cared for.
3) Create a
new working relationship with your ex-spouse especially vis a vis your children.
This may take patience and time to develop.
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