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Divorce Law FAQ
How do I get a divorce?
Before you start the process, it’s smart to get a competent, compassionate divorce attorney on your side. To begin the divorce process, you will file a petition for the dissolution of marriage with your county court. Here in the State of Colorado, the minimum amount of time to obtain a divorce is 90 days.
What is the difference between an annulment and a divorce?
While an annulment and a divorce both terminate a marriage, they do so through different processes.
A divorce ends a marriage through a legal termination, while an annulment is a legal action that effectively erases the marriage, making it like it never existed in the first place.
What are the grounds for annulment?
Unlike divorce, annulments must be legally justified. Some of the reasons an individual may choose to get an annulment are:
- Concealment of important information
- Inability to consummate the marriage
- Lack of consent
- Unwitting incest
What’s the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?
The primary difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that after a legal separation, you are still legally married to your partner.
Some couples opt to file for a legal separation instead of for divorce because of moral values, religious beliefs, or to maintain benefits such as health insurance coverage.
What’s the difference between a separation and a legal separation?
A “separation” simply means that a married couple is now living apart. This is a personal decision and it doesn’t require you or your partner to file court documents. However, if you’re separating, you should still talk to an experienced divorce law and family law attorney to make sure you’re protected when it comes to finances, bills, and parenting. On the other hand, a “Legal Separation” requires you filing a petition with the Court.
I’ve been earning income during my trial separation. How does that work?
The most common type of separation is a trial separation. A trial separation is a period wherein a couple will physically separate to help them decide if they truly want to divorce.
Any property, income, or assets acquired during the trial separation is usually considered the sole property of the individual, rather than the marriage.
However, you can’t be too careful. Make sure you consult an attorney to guide you and protect your assets as you move through the process of separating from your partner.
How is property divided during a divorce in Colorado?
When it comes to dividing property in a divorce, Colorado family law courts abide by a principle of “equitable distribution.” This means a judge will divide property according to what they deem fair, not necessarily what is equal.
Property distribution may favor the higher earner in a couple, as a higher earner may claim more than half of the estate in a divorce according to his or her income. The division of property is affected by what is marital property and what is separate property.
The experienced divorce law attorneys at our firm can help ensure you get what you deserve when you get a divorce in Colorado.
What is the difference between marital property and separate property?
In Colorado, there is a distinction between what property is jointly-owned by the spouses involved in a divorce and what property belongs solely to one spouse.
For example, real estate acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, while assets and valuables an individual already possessed when they entered the marriage is considered separate property.
It’s important to hire a lawyer that understands the true value of all the assets in your divorce—a lawyer that will fight to get you a fair settlement when your divorce comes to a close.
How do equitable distribution and property distribution apply to debts?
Marital property is property accumulated during the course of the marriage, and unfortunately, this also includes debts. Since Colorado abides by the law of “equitable distribution,” this concept also applies to marital debts.
In your divorce, a judge will divide debts according to what they deem fair, not necessarily what is equal.
In what case will I have to pay alimony?
In the state of Colorado, alimony is calculated through a mathematical formula for couples who have a combined annual income of $75,000 or less.
If you earn substantially more money than your spouse, there’s a good chance you will be ordered to pay some alimony.
Talk to a lawyer to see how you can protect your assets and come to a fair alimony amount.
How is alimony calculated?
Alimony Payment = 40% of Higher Earner’s Monthly Gross Income – 50% of Lower Earner’s Monthly Gross Income
How long will I have to pay alimony for?
If a judge orders you pay alimony, you will generally have to pay a specified amount each month until:
- a date set by a judge several years in the future
- your children no longer need a full-time parent at home
- your former spouse remarries
- a judge determines that even after a reasonable period of time, your spouse hasn’t made an adequate effort to become at least partially self-supporting
- a significant event such as retirement occurs, convincing a judge to modify the amount paid
- one of you dies
What are the types of custody arrangements that I could find myself in?
There are various types of custody arrangements that you could find yourself in. A judge will decide what the best balance of sole custody and legal custody is for your situation. The child custody situations are:
- Joint: In the case of joint custody, both parents have simultaneous physical and legal custody
- Alternating: In an alternating child custody arrangement, parents alternate having sole physical and legal custody
- Shared: In a shared child custody arrangement, parents share legal custody but alternate physical custody of the child
- Sole: One parent has physical and legal custody of the child
- Split: In a split custody arrangement, both parents each have full, sole custody over certain children in the marriage
I want to divorce my abusive spouse, but the divorce is making them violent. What do I do?
Domestic violence is nothing to take lightly. If you are in immediate danger, it’s vital you contact the police right away and remove yourself and your children from the situation if possible.
Seek shelter with a family member, a friend, or a domestic violence shelter immediately.
Find someplace to live that your spouse cannot find out about, where you and your children will be safe. If you need to send your children to live with family out-of-state, talk with a lawyer to find out what legal steps you need to take to get them to this safe destination.
*Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.