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Colorado Springs Family Law Blog

Legal help is critical for both parties when determining alimony

One of the most difficult aspects in a Colorado divorce is determining who will pay alimony, how much it will be, and for how long it will last. Alimony can have multiple alternative terms including maintenance or spousal support. Regardless of what it is called, it is a fundamental issue and often a concern for people who have parted ways and find themselves needing to pay for the upkeep of a former spouse or are the spouse who asserts that he or she is in need. The paying spouse might not have a large enough income to pay. The receiving spouse might not have the current ability to support him or herself in the same lifestyle as they had during the marriage. All of this will be assessed during a divorce.

In general, there are three types of alimony that can be awarded: rehabilitative, for restitution and permanent support. It is vital to understand the difference between them. With rehabilitative and restitution, it will not be for an extended period as it will be with permanent alimony. The goal with these is to help the other spouse get on his or her feet as they are seeking employment, taking part in job training or going back to school. The resolution should be that the recipient will be able to take care of themselves and no longer need support.

Same-sex divorce involves man who did not know he was married

In Colorado and across the nation, the relatively new law where people of the same sex can get married has often led to confusion regarding how the difference in the law impacts people in various circumstances. One issue that could be complex is when people had a commitment ceremony before they were legally allowed to marry. For those who do not believe they were married, it can come as a surprise when they are considered married based on the new law. When this or any other issue arises with same-sex family law, having legal assistance from a law firm that understands all aspects of these cases is imperative.

A man who took part in a 2003 commitment ceremony - more than a decade before it was legal for same-sex couples to marry - has discovered that he was indeed married to his then-boyfriend. The man's former partner filed a complaint seeking spousal support. The man subsequently lost significant assets due to the settlement. He was unaware that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage made commitment ceremonies that took place before the ruling tantamount to getting married with all the legal obligations that accompany it.

How is child support calculated in Colorado?

At the end of a marriage in Colorado, a couple with a child will want to make sure the child is cared for and has everything he or she needs to thrive. Child support is a big part of that. Frequently, parents will be completely unaware as to how child support is calculated in the state. Knowing the factors that are considered goes a long way toward understanding what the state will think about when making its determination.

In general, Colorado wants children to receive the same amount of support they would have gotten had the parents remained married. With that, the child will be granted a portion of the total income of each of the parents. It is referred to as "income shares." Both parents' incomes will be calculated. The parents will then be given a portion of how much they are expected to contribute based on a percentage of their total gross incomes. There will be other factors considered such as health insurance and daycare. Parental responsibility and how its costs are also factored in. These are calculated and then divided so a monthly amount will be determined.

Don't plan to have kids in the hope of saving a failing marriage

People who get married in their 20s and even their early 30s often find that they grow apart from their spouse after the first few years. This can lead to feelings of intense dissatisfaction with the marriage and wishing for a better connection, like you used to have when you first met.

In some cases, it is possible for couples going through a hard time to foster new connections with one another and deepen their relationship. However, doing so requires considerable focus and commitment from both spouses. There is no quick and easy fix to keeping a relationship strong and happy. Despite what Hollywood depicts in movies and TV shows, small children cannot be the cement that holds together a parental relationship.

Understanding irretrievable breakdown in a Colorado divorce

For Colorado couples who are no longer able to sustain their marriage and are seeking a divorce, it is not as difficult to get one as it used to be. Whereas there were once a series of requirements to divorce in the state, it is now a simple matter of saying that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This can mean a variety of things have gone wrong in the marriage. Or it can just be that the couple wants to move on with their lives and end the marriage. However, since the term can be somewhat vague, it is important for those who are thinking about divorce to understand it and what it means when a marriage is irretrievably broken under the law.

When the parties have determined that the marriage is irretrievably broken via petition, by stating it to be the case and have done so under oath or affirmation, then it is presumed to be so. If one of the parties has made the statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the other party has failed to deny it, that same presumption is in place. Except in cases where the evidence controverts the statement, the court will find that irretrievable breakdown is in place.

What if child support issues become interstate or international?

In Colorado child support cases, the circumstances can vary as to how to get a delinquent parent to pay what is owed to be current on the payments. If they are living in Colorado, there are steps that the state can take to get the payments even if it means garnishing wages or suspending driver's licenses. However, when the parent has moved out of the state or even out of the country, the custodial parent might not know what to do to get the child support that is owed. Since parental responsibility and the child's best interests are so important, it does not end when the supporting parent leaves the state or moves out of the U.S. Understanding how the state will deal with this is critical to getting the payments.

If the parent has left the state, every state in the U.S. is adherent to federal regulations for child support. The enforcement will likely be the same everywhere. It is important to remember that enforcement from one state to the other can be complicated. If the noncustodial parent is outside of Colorado, the specific child support enforcement unit will try to settle the matter with its counterpart in the state the parent lives in. On average, it takes three months to open a case in a separate state. The amount of time it will take for the money to be paid, the details of the child support order, and what the other state can do will vary. The parent who has fled Colorado to avoid paying child support can face federal prosecution.

What judicial actions are possible for child support in Colorado?

In Colorado, it is critical that child support payments are made when they are due and that they be paid in full. This is in the child's best interests so the proper care is given. It also benefits the parents as the supporting parent will be adhering to his or her responsibilities and the custodial parent will receive the funds necessary to ensure the child's needs are met. However, it is an unfortunately common reality that supporting parents will fail to pay what they are supposed to.

After other avenues of getting the payments have been exhausted, judicial actions are necessary. Knowing what judicial actions can take place is key to getting the payments. With a judgment, Child Support Services (CSS) can issue a judgment for any amount that is past due. These will be for a certain time-period and amount. A supporting parent who is not paying what is owed can have a lien placed on real and personal property. This is within the rights of CSS and can apply to a car, a home and other property so the payments can be made.

Mediation and arbitration can help settle a Colorado divorce

When mentioning the word "divorce" in Colorado, the first thought that comes to most minds is that of a protracted court battle with the participants in dispute about every issue large and small. In some cases, this is the reality and it makes no sense to suggest options other than going to court. In others, however, the issues that precipitated the divorce are not contentious and the couple is able to maintain a civil if not outright friendly relationship as they seek to resolve their differences and end the marriage.

For those who believe there is the foundation for an agreement without going before a judge, mediation or arbitration could be preferable. It might also save time and money. Obviously, not every case is meant to be settled with the parties in negotiation or having a third party listen to their concerns and make suggestions. Some people need a judge to make the decisions. But, knowing that mediation and arbitration are available options can be an appealing strategy.

Shared custody is usually the standard in Colorado divorces

Divorce is often an experience fraught with difficult emotions and uncertainty about the future. This is true for the couple divorcing, as well as for any children in the family. Couples considering divorce will worry about how it may impact their lives, as well as the well-being of their children.

Getting divorced is never easy, but it certainly becomes more complex when you and your spouse share minor children. It is perfectly normal to want to predict how the courts will likely handle custody decisions. However, it is very important to understand that each divorce is unique, and there is no guaranteed outcome to any custody proceedings.

Divorce decisions impacted by student loan obligations

For couples in Colorado and across the nation, there are many catalysts to a divorce. One of the most prominent is finances. Some of these issues start early in the marriage and take time to manifest themselves. While it might not be labeled a "college divorce" if the financial problems begin due to college-related debt, it can still be an issue later when matters come to a head and the couple decides to part ways. Recent information has come to light as to how extensive the problem of student debt is when it comes to divorce.

In the study by Student Loan Hero, a major factor in relationship stress is financial with student debt being a growing part of that. The research says that greater than one-third of those who have borrowed cited student debt as a problematic factor that can damage a marriage. 13 percent of those who divorced stated that the relationship's demise was because of student debt. More than 800 people who were already divorced took part in the study.

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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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