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Colorado Springs Family Law Blog

Divorce and the role of equitable distribution of property

A marriage creates an intangible bond between two people who choose to legally unite themselves together. Once a marriage is created, a Colorado couple may enjoy a host of benefits that come with electing to support another person and, in some cases, creating a family with their partner. Some of the benefits that married people enjoy relate to money and property ownership, and those rights and benefits can become clouded should divorce threaten to break a couple's marital bonds.

After years of marriage some couples accumulate a wealth of investments, property and other assets. Although property can be owned separately by the individual partners to a marriage, in some cases articles of property may be owned jointly or considered under the joint ownership of the marital partners. When property is considered marital property it must be evaluated and subjected to the laws of equitable distribution in the event a couple goes through a divorce.

Child custody matters can be tricky for same-sex couples

When a separate sex couple in Colorado brings a child into the world there are generally few questions about the child's parentage. Biological mothers and fathers are listed on children's birth certificates and those acknowledgements, as well as legal presumptions about marriage and parentage, usually result in both individuals having parental rights over their kids during their relationships and when those relationships end in divorce.

However, this is not always the case for same-sex couples. Often when a same-sex couple chooses to have children only one of the parents will have a biological connection to the child. Depending upon how the child is brought into the family, a person who has considered themselves the parent of a child may find out during their separation or divorce that they have no rights to custody or visitation with the youth because of their lack of parental connection.

What role does paternity play in seeking child support?

Every day, children are born to Colorado parents, and the families those children enter can have very unique characteristics. Some families are led by married parents, and some families may include two parents who have chosen not to wed. In some instances, children may be born to single mothers who are not involved with their kids' fathers, and in other instances their mothers may know who their children's dads are and may struggle to convince those men of their roles as fathers.

One reason that it is important to have a child's paternity established is because it can ease the process of seeking child support from the father should the need arise. Child support is the payment of money from a noncustodial parent to a child for the purposes of giving the child the financial assistance needed to thrive.

Parenting provisions: Communication and conflict resolution

No one ever said that co-parenting would be easy, but the benefits for the parents and the children are immeasurable. For one, psychological research shows that children benefit from regular and frequent contact with both parents. Secondly, parents can benefit from dividing the burdens of single parenthood between themselves and the other spouse half of the time.

That said, co-parenting works best when you and the other parent can come to swift and easy agreement on important matters of child rearing. The more things you and the co-parent of your child can get clear about during your divorce, the better job you'll do of keeping the peace.

Money matters can make divorce more complex

Marriages begin with love and companionship but can end with anger and resentment if difficulties derail them from being successful. When married Colorado couples reach the end of their patience and can no longer endure their legal relationships, it is not uncommon for them to turn to divorce. In fact, in 2015 more than 800,000 American couples ended their relationships in divorce, and second and third marriages were more likely to end in divorce than marriages between people who had not been married before.

Divorce is difficult for a wealth of emotional reasons. Often, there is a feeling of failure that accompanies the end of a marriage. Partners may feel frustrated and angry with each other's actions. In some cases, a partner may feel disrespected, dishonored or embarrassed by the conduct that led him or her to file for divorce. If children are involved, parents can carry significant guilt with them as they move toward splitting up their family.

Spousal maintenance may be important after a divorce

Readers of this Colorado family law blog may know, first hand, or have heard from their friends and family members that marriage is work. It can take a lot of effort, patience and understanding for two people to bind their lives together until they are parted by death, and in the end, enduring the test of time simply is not feasible for some married couples. A divorce may result for many different reasons, but when it is pursued, a couple may find that it, like their marriage, is a lot of work as well.

A divorce requires a couple to separate their property, separate their assets, and if they have kids, separate their time so that each maintains a relationship with their offspring. It may force them to part with their homes or other items of importance, and it may require them to confront difficulties that have plagued their marital relationship.

Postnuptial agreements provide financial clarity for couples

Many Colorado residents are familiar with the term "prenuptial agreement." Even if they are not married or if they are married, but did not execute a prenup prior to tying the knot, they may have a vague understanding of what these family law contracts do. Put simply, a prenuptial agreement is an agreement that two people enter into before they get married and that spells out what their financial and property rights will be during their union and what will happen with those assets if the partners choose to divorce.

Less familiar to readers of this blog may be the term "postnuptial agreement." Given its prefix, a reader may surmise that a postnuptial agreement is created after a person is married and this interpretation would be correct. Postnuptial agreements are made between married people and divide the partners' financial rights and liabilities for their marriage as well as their post-marital lives if they choose to divorce.

Can fathers get custody of their kids after divorce?

Divorce does not only impact the two people who choose to end their marriage. It can have a significant effect on their children and other loved ones who are connected through their union. When children are asked to endure the divorce of their parents, it can be both emotionally difficult and personally stressful on them, as their parents seek to work out custodial matters related to their care.

Parents in Colorado may maintain two types of custody over their kids - legal and physical. Legal custody concerns the right of a parent to make decisions about the upbringing of the child. Issues related to how a child is educated and what types of medical care he or she will receive are within the domain of responsibility of a parent with legal custody.

Child support for college when parents go through a divorce

Colorado parents usually hope that their children will find successful careers as they transition into adulthood, either after they complete high school, or upon finishing courses in higher education. Not every child chooses to pursue a degree at a college or university but those that do understand that the costs associated with such pursuits can be astronomical. Many children look to their parents for financial support when it comes to following their educational dreams.

While some parents are willing and able to support their kids while they travel down these paths, others may lack the capacity to make such financial contributions. When parents are divorced, and one parent is responsible for paying child support to the other, the paying parent may look forward to the day that the child is an adult and that parent no longer must financially contribute support. Though in some cases, a parent may effectively cut a child financially off upon reaching adulthood, others may choose to continue to support the child as he or she seeks education and training.

Child custody issues are different in same-sex divorces

Getting divorced is difficult in the most simple of legal situations. For a same-sex couple with children, however, legal complications alone can make divorcing more complex and frustrating. Although Colorado has allowed for same-sex marriages since October of 2014, there remain many legal gray areas pertaining to same-sex divorces in the state.

In Colorado, when a married couple has a child, the assumption is that the child is a product of the marriage. Unless genetic tests or other evidence prove outside paternity, both spouses share custody and rights to the children. In same-sex marriages, no such presumption currently exists. For same-sex families facing divorce, the process of ensuring custody and co-parenting time may differ substantially.

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