Divorce Law in Colorado
How to Find a Colorado Divorce Attorney
What is the secret to a successful divorce? In a word, “compromise” is the secret.
A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.
Going through divorce is akin to buying and selling a home. Both the buyer and the seller must compromise so that everyone feels he or she is getting a good and fair, deal – maybe even the better deal. If you refuse to compromise, you won’t be able to buy (or sell) the house.
In divorce, if you don’t compromise, you’ll end up in court, get less of what you want, be highly stressed, and have a huge legal bill. If compromising sounds tough, or downright impossible, yet you’re thinking of divorce, this article is for you.
In this article (which is based upon Colorado divorce law), we’ll discuss:
- Colorado specific divorce law requirements;
- What you need to know about divorce; and
- Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Colorado divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find one and how to prepare to work with him or her.
Colorado Divorce Law Specifics
Either you or your spouse must have been domiciled in the state of Colorado for at least 90 days before the divorce papers can be filed.
The only grounds for dissolution of marriage in Colorado is that the marriage is irretrievably broken
Colorado uses the terms, “petitioner” and “respondent” to describe, first, the spouse who initially filed the divorce papers, and, second, the other spouse.
In Colorado, divorce papers are filed in District Court of the county where either spouse lives.
In some cases, alimony is available.
In Colorado property distribution will be based upon what’s “equitable” (i.e. fair) and child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.
What You Need to Know About Divorce
In this section, we’ll highlight the aspects of divorce that will help you this most. Of course, we’ll emphasize compromise.
- Always think, “compromise, collaboration, communication, and cooperation”. If you’re like most people, your initial reaction may be to roll your eyes at this advice and to dream of sweet revenge.
If you follow our advice, you will:
- Keep legal fees to a minimum.
- Make the divorce easier on yourself and your children.
- Have less stress.
- Likely get more money, time with your children, and whatever ever else you want in the divorce.
- Only hire a divorce attorney who is willing to work collaboratively. An attorney who angers your spouse (or you) will push you into court.
- Avoid court interference. If you and your spouse can’t work out a settlement agreement with the help of your lawyers, you’ll have to go to court. This means that the court takes over and determines who gets what and how custody is handled. You lose control and your court costs and fees will skyrocket.
- A qualified therapist is best suited to help you handle the emotional aspects of divorce. Don’t attempt to use your children or your lawyer as a sounding board or therapist.
Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Colorado Divorce Lawyer?
Legally, you are able to represent yourself during a Colorado divorce; in practicality, it’s likely against your best interests and those of your children.
- After all, if you give up any marital rights during divorce, you will be forever barred from asserting them in Colorado courts.
- And what will one mistake cost you?
Even Colorado attorneys, who go through divorce, hire their own divorce attorneys. One mistake may cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and time with your children.
How to Find and Select a Colorado Divorce Attorney
To find a qualified lawyer, ask loved ones for referrals and enter “How to Find a Colorado Divorce Attorney” into Google or your favorite search engine.
It’s important to narrow down the results to an attorney that you’re comfortable with so be sure to interview several attorneys before you make your selection.
Always ask whatever questions you have about fees, process, what to expect, communications, and timing.
It’s always okay to ask about the attorney’s approach to divorce negotiations. Select an attorney who emphasizes compromise and collaboration.
This doesn’t mean that your attorney is passive or is scared to go to court; it just means that court is viewed as the last resort, not the first option.
- The final decision should be based upon your comfort level with attorneys you interview.
How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney
Here is a checklist that will help you to prepare to work with your attorney:
Say, “When I compromise, I win” 3 times, every morning when you wake up and each evening before bed.
Consider reconciliation. It’s okay to wait to file divorce; if you feel the same way in 6 months you can always file then.
Consult with a therapist or psychologist, who specializes in helping people going through divorce.
Make a “wish list” of everything you would like in the divorce (e.g. property division, spousal support, living arrangements, and child related matters) and indicate which items are your top priorities and which items can be compromised.
Make a list of questions and concerns to address with your divorce attorney at your meeting.
Gather financial and legal documents such as marital agreements, life insurance policies, tax returns, investment account statements, bills, expenses, and income.
A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit.