It’s an uncontested divorce, what could possibly go wrong?
Oh, so many things!
Divorce in Colorado falls under the family law statutes, which, like all laws, can be confusing. There are required filings, deadlines, things you can do, things you can’t do and judges who have a lot of latitude in what they can do. The basic rules are common-sense simplicity: Where property is concerned, the judge wants to be fair; where children are concerned, the judge wants to do what’s best for them; in all things, the judge needs to do what’s possible.
Divorce isn’t always Divorce.
You may choose separation if you think reconciliation is possible. Separation is, in effect, a test, which may be informal or formal. Formal separation is a contract and penalties can attach for improper behavior. For example, if your spouse finds you in a relationship while separated, adultery can be charged as a cause of divorce, however, you can legally date, even get engaged while separated or while the divorce is in progress.
Under specific circumstances, you can get an annulment instead of a divorce. An annulment means you were never legally married and neither party has spousal rights. Divorce ends a marriage at the time of the decree but does not necessarily end all obligations of one party to the other.
Colorado isn’t a community property state; the law seeks equitable distribution. Property acquired during a marriage is usually considered marital property and is subject to division. This doesn’t include inheritances, gifts, IRAs or Social Security benefits. If one partner owns land and has the title in his/her name alone, that property might still be classed as marital property.
Alimony & Maintenance
Colorado has specific formulas for deciding what alimony is due. It isn’t automatic but based on the marriage’s length, current income of the couple plus their ages, health, earning ability and more. Colorado law does include a no-fault provision — maintenance determinations are made “without regard to marital misconduct”.
The prime most serious decision in any divorce is custody of the children. There’s legal custody (who can make decisions about the children) plus physical custody (where does each child live). These usually go together, emphasis on usually. State law doesn’t presume a mother or father is automatically a better parent but does require one parent to prove that the other is unfit if that charge is made. That’s not likely in an uncontested divorce, but not all divorces that start out uncontested end that way.
Don’t trust luck or your spouse’s lawyer. Choosing Walker, Wright & Associates, LLP, of Centennial, Colorado, as your divorce law firm means you’ve chosen expert attorneys and paraprofessionals, dedicated to helping you equitably resolve whatever problems brought you to our office.