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Colorado Springs Family Law Blog

The importance of legal help with family law

Even though same sex marriage is now legal in Colorado, complicated issues can still arise. For any same-sex marriage issue, legal assistance is a must.

For example, when people have children and act as parents despite one not being biologically related to the child, disagreements can arise as to who should get custody and whether visitation rights are necessary. This is especially problematic if the child was not adopted. Because a divorce can become emotional when children are involved, having a law firm that knows what steps to take is critical.

Understanding child support issues that frequently arise

It is not unusual for parents who have parted ways as a couple and share a child to still have lingering negative feelings about one another that can seep into the child support payments. While it might not seem that there is a direct correlation between child support and the simmering disputes, it is a real issue that should be considered by both parents. Having a grasp of how parents will be confronted (*note: page 67) with problems due to this is important in settling them so it does not grow worse.

Research indicates that problems with child support being paid on time can be connected to parenting time. If a father is having a tough time adjusting to the new relationship and its circumstances, it can negatively impact other areas of his life and result with job loss and hinder the ability to pay child support. Some fathers claim that the mother resisting giving parenting time is a sore spot in having a successful relationship with the child. In some instances, the parenting time does not take place at all or, if it does, it is intermittent and not for the full allotment.

Handling a divorce requires keeping track of important factors

Divorce is one of the most difficult times in a person's life. For Colorado residents who have decided that it is best to move on from an unhappy marriage, there will be many things that go through their minds. However, it is easy to forget important aspects of the process. There are significant financial, personal and professional considerations to account for. The failure to do so can lead to major problems not just in the short-term after the divorce, but in the long-term as well. Keeping certain issues in mind can help to smooth the process.

Deciding how to move forward includes taking a step back and determining what is desirable and what is not desirable. It is often forgotten that the divorce is a legal situation. When divorcing, it is the termination of a contract. Being somewhat self-interested is necessary to handle alimony, maintenance, child custody and other issues that arise.

Yes, you can modify your custody order after a divorce

There's a common misconception that divorce orders are the final word in all matters related to the end of a marriage. It is true that the asset division process is usually set in stone after a divorce (barring evidence of hidden assets uncovered after the fact). The same is not true for child custody and support orders. The courts can and often do revisit child custody orders, as well as spousal support and child support orders.

The ability to request a modification protects both the needs of the parents and the best interests of the children after a divorce. Flexibility in these matters can benefit everyone involved. Whether you share custody or your ex has sole custody now, a modification may be possible. If your situation has changed and you think it could impact your custody order, it may be a smart move to pursue a modification.

According to survey, women paying maintenance grows more common

In Colorado and across the nation, there is an ingrained and anecdotal assumption that when a couple decides to divorce, it is the male in the relationship who will pay alimony to the female. This is largely based on old-school gender roles from years past in which the man was the breadwinner and the woman the homemaker. Of course, as the definition of a family has changed, relationships and finances have also adapted with many women earning more money than their husbands. With that has come a rising number of women who are ordered to pay maintenance to their former husbands. A survey has indicated that this is happening more frequently. For those who are divorcing and have concerns about maintenance, a legal professional is essential.

The survey, from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says that 54 percent of those polled state they have seen an increase in women paying instead of men. While courts are expected to ignore the ancillary and focus on the facts, there remains a perception that men pay maintenance. However, that is changing. With the number of dual-income homes, it is common that the female earns more than the male. In some cases, the roles have reversed from what was once considered the "norm" and men are staying at home with children as women head into the workforce.

How are custody issues handled in Colorado?

It is not uncommon in a Colorado divorce for there to be contentious disagreements about the case. This can be over many issues. One of the most difficult matters to navigate is child custody. Dealing with children is emotional and parents will frequently want to have the bulk of the responsibility and time with the child. However, the parents' interests are secondary to the child's best interests. Understanding how state law addresses parental responsibility, shared responsibility, joint custody and any other child-related issue that comes up is critical to a case.

Child custody is no longer referred to as "custody." The state has switched to "parental responsibilities." Of course, it means that the child's main residence, how the big decisions such as education and health are made, and how visitation will be handled are the key factors in a case. The parents' desires and the child's desires - if he or she is old enough to intelligently and maturely provide an opinion - will all be considered. Gender will not be factored in even though there is a perception that custody will overwhelmingly go to the mother.

What should I know about property laws in a Colorado divorce?

Coloradans who decide to end their marriage and get a divorce will often have many issues that they must navigate to settle the matter. It is unusual for divorces to be completed quickly and without some level of rancor. The disagreements can stem from many issues including children, support and property division. While in the greater context the property aspect might seem secondary, it is the foundation for many couples doing battle and having extended disputes as to who gets what. Knowing how Colorado state law handles marital property can provide the basis of handling the case for each side.

In general, marital property will be items that were purchased or received while the couple was married. That does not include that which was owned by the spouses as individuals. Included in the latter are inheritances and gifts during the marriage, and property that was owned prior to the marriage. The couple might also have entered into a legal agreement regarding property prior to getting married. These items will be referred to as separate property.

What income penalties can be given for delinquent child support?

When a Colorado parent has been ordered to pay child support, it is his or her parental responsibility to make the payments as required. For many reasons, some supporting parents shun that shared responsibility and do not make the payments in full or do not make the payments at all. For the parent who is supposed to be receiving child support, this can be a problem. The supporting parent can face various penalties for delinquent child support. The state can use income related enforcement to get what is owed by simply taking it from various sources.

For a parent who is working, the Colorado Child Support Services (CSS) can move to have an income assignment for what is owed. This will be issued to the supporting parent's employer and the money will be taken right out of the wages or other forms of compensation he or she might get. Employers are obligated to report having hired employees. This information is used to find the parent and collect the money. When a supporting parent gets a new job, this is found out through new hire reporting. CSS has access to this information and will use it for wage garnishment.

Ways you can reduce divorce stress on your children

Most people understand that divorce in a family with children will impact those children. Children can develop social, educational and emotional issues in the wake of a divorce. Feelings of anxiety, abandonment or fear about the loss of love are all common responses.

Thankfully, you and your spouse can take steps before, during and after your divorce towards reducing the amount of impact it has on the children. Educating yourself about how to support your children's emotional recovery after a divorce could help you minimize the fallout of ending your marriage.

A lawyer can help address all issues in a Colorado divorce

Residents who are in the middle of a divorce might be overwhelmed with everything coming down on them at once. The entire process can be personally and emotionally exhausting with a seemingly endless number of issues in dispute. For those who have significant property, major assets, have children, are concerned about how they are going to make ends meet and more, it is imperative to have legal assistance from an attorney who is experienced in all areas of divorce.

If there are children from the marriage, they will be the primary concern. Their best interests must be adhered to above all else. This holds true with which parent the child lives with the bulk of the time and how much child support will be paid. The courts are generally allowed to make decisions based on its view of how the children are best-served. For the parent who disagrees with the court assessment, it can be a difficult process. Having legal assistance from the start is a sound way to get a desired outcome.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
1820 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

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