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Colorado Springs Family Law Blog

Military divorce and securing military retirement pay

The brave men and women who serve in our armed forces deserve praise for their bravery and commitment to our country. These individuals sacrifice a lot in their service to our country. While they often put their own safety in jeopardy, they also sometimes put their marriages on the line. Long-term deployments can cause couples to grow apart, and mental health issues related to active duty can make matters complicated. Sadly, these disruptions often lead to divorce.

While military divorces are similar to civilian divorces, there are a few things to keep in mind. To start, a military divorce may take more time, especially if one spouse is deployed. While this may be frustrating to some individuals, they should take comfort in knowing that they have additional time to sort out any divorce-related legal issues.

The importance of an active father in a child's life

When it comes to divorce and child custody disputes, women are often given preference as a child's custodial parent. Whether or not fair, this is simply the truth of matter. Oftentimes, fathers accept this reality and take a backseat in their children's lives. Little do these fathers know that their diminished role in their children's lives may have a profoundly negative impact.

The power of a father's presence is inescapable. Children with fathers who play an active role in their lives are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and become incarcerated, but their IQs tend to be higher too. These children are more likely to have higher paying jobs and healthier relationships than their counterparts who don't have an active father in their life. They also tend to have less psychological problems.

Child custody and the effect of domestic violence on children

Divorce is rarely an easy endeavor. After all, the marriage dissolution process can reshape not only your day-to-day life and your financial position, but it can also affect the relationship you have with your children. This latter issue is the reason why child custody and visitation is often hotly contested in divorce proceedings. When the parties can't come to an agreement on custody and visitation, then a judge will need to decide what sort of arrangement best supports a child's best interests.

This leaves it to the parents to argue why their position is best for their children. Domestic violence, substance abuse and emotional manipulation are often brought to light in these cases, so it is wise for individuals to understand these issues and how they affect children so that strong legal arguments can be made about the impact of domestic violence on children.

How are assets divided in Colorado?

Colorado is an equitable property state which means that property is equitably divided if the couple decides to divorce. This means that property will be divided by the family law court with the goal of dividing property as fairly and possible.

Only marital property is subject to the property division process during the divorce process. Marital property includes income and assets the couple acquired during their marriage. Marital property is contrasted with separate property which is not subject to the property division process during divorce. Separate property includes property one of the spouses enters the marriage with, inheritances, gifts and personal injury settlements. Commingled property is another category of property divorcing couples should be aware of.

4 ways to keep the focus on your kids in a Colorado divorce

Your divorce is going to be hard on you, but it is also going to be incredibly difficult for your children. You probably already know that you were going to need to take action to keep yourself grounded and emotionally stable as the divorce process moves forward.

You need to also make a concerted and deliberate effort to keep the focus of the family on the children and their emotional needs to protect your kids and after your divorce. Thankfully, you do not need to sacrifice your own emotional well-being to protect your kids from the worst effects of ending your marriage.

Navigating the blended family environment

Blending any type of family after divorce or separation is usually a daunting task that takes time. Blending from a heterosexual environment to a homosexual one can be difficult if everyone is not on the same page.

First, know that children will feel the energy in a room. A child can sense when you are uncomfortable, and it makes them uncomfortable in turn. Approach every situation as a confident, united front from every side, and watch the children do the same. Also, share responsibilities. If one partner takes a child to school, let the other pick them up. Have all parties listed on school records so that either can give permission or consent when needed. For both partners to be viewed as equal in the eyes of a child, each should participate in everyday activities. In addition, both should take part in extracurricular activities and school functions, offering support whenever possible.

How is alimony calculated under Colorado law?

Contrary to popular belief, alimony is not awarded in any state based on fault in a divorce. Rather, it is awarded based on both need as well as the ability to pay. In Colorado, our readers may also hear alimony referred to as "spousal maintenance."

The very first thing that must happen for alimony to be awarded is for one of the divorcing parties to request it. Only then will a court take it under advisement. It is not an automatic award within a divorce. Multiple factors will be taken in consideration by a judge, including the gross income of both parties, distribution of marital assets, means to pay and financial need. Financial need is defined as it pertains to maintaining the standard of living set during the marriage. For example, if a couple lived in a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch style home in a decent neighborhood for 20 years, then one should not be expected to reside in a camper without power after divorce. There must exist a reasonable expectation to maintain the norm.

The effects of domestic violence on child custody

When most people hear or see the term "domestic violence" it is usually an automatic response to think of the violent behavior happening between spouses. The truth of the matter is that domestic violence occurs in a multitude of situations, and other types of intimate relationships. While, yes, it can occur between current or former spouses, it may also occur between two people who are just dating, two siblings, two roommates or two unmarried parents.

Domestic violence may also occur between a parent and a child, and it does not always amount to physical violence. Other forms include verbal abuse, such as calling a child names or shouting, emotional abuse, such as making a child fearful or unwanted, financial abuse, such as withholding certain needs from a child as punishment or psychological abuse, such as threatening or intimidating.

What is a grey divorce?

In our current era of uncharted territory and being true to oneself, it is no surprise to find that divorce rates among couples 50 and older are on the rise. Known as the baby boomer generation, these individuals were married in a very different time and familial climate than current generations know. It was not uncommon for a wife to stay home, raise children, and take care of the home while the husband worked to pay all of the bills and provide for the family. These matters are commonly referred to as a "grey divorce," and they can be much more complex than the divorce of a couple who have not been married very long. Whereas a young couple likely both work and contribute to household finances, older couples likely did not. That alone makes it much more difficult for a judge to determine how to equally divide assets.

So what are some of the unique issues of a grey divorce? Well, first let's discuss the assets to be divided. A couple who have been married 40 years, raised children together, and now have grandchildren will have much to discuss regarding division. The difficulty lies in placing a monetary value on those items. At this stage in life, many things hold more sentimental than monetary value. Therefore, it is near impossible for a judge to value and disperse them equally. In the matter of a grey divorce, some courts will require the parties to enter into a pre-negotiated settlement agreement. Some assets that are unique to later in life divorces are retirement accounts, burial plots, aged financial accounts, and real estate owned free and clear. Others can include valuable artwork, family heirlooms, or sentimental gifts from children. Simply put, only the spouses could agree on how these are divided if an equitable division was expected.

5 divorce mediation questions to answer

Even though divorce mediation may not sound like something that will work for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, there are many benefits that should have you second guessing yourself.

With divorce mediation, a family law mediator acts as a neutral party to help you and your spouse resolve the issues associated with your divorce. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to facilitating communication, asking questions to clear the air, identifying alternatives for solving disputes and describing how a judge may interpret specific issues.

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

Phone: 719-362-5113
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