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Jefferson County Family Law Blog

New year, new (single) you? Preparing for your Colorado divorce

Whether you were the one who brought up the idea or you were blindsided when your spouse broached the subject of a divorce, you're probably feeling at least a bit stressed at the moment. Even when you're certain that ending your marriage is for the best and you know you're working toward a more stable and emotionally healthy future, the most amicable of divorces can still bring anxiety.

Even setting aside the emotional aspects of ending your marriage, you are probably feeling somewhat nervous about meeting with a divorce attorney. Divorce may be something you never imagined yourself going through, so you may have no idea what to expect or how to plan. Take heart; you're not alone. Lots of people have found themselves in the same situation you are in now, and something that many find helpful is preparation. A little bit of planning can go a long way toward putting your mind at ease.

Peaceful co-parenting is possible through a joint custody plan

When two Colorado parents choose to move forward with a divorce, it can lead to serious disputes and complications over child custody. However, some parents are able to put their temporary emotions aside and work together for a beneficial and workable child custody order. In many families, this means a joint custody arrangement.

Joint custody is not possible in every situation, but it could be the right choice for your family. This type of custody plan allows a child to have regular access to both parents, which can be beneficial for his or her mental and emotional well-being. If you believe that a joint custody plan could work for you, or you have concerns about the protection of your parental rights, you can reach out for guidance as you navigate these matters.

How is equitable distribution handled?

One of your first concerns after filing for divorce may involve your marital property. "Who gets what?" is a common question that is not necessarily easy to answer. Many Colorado couples find that emotions often run too high to take control of splitting up their own property.

Mediation or going before a family law judge are often both better options than trying to figure out asset division on your own. These routes involve individuals who have more experience in family law, and can provide better guidance on equitable distribution.

Keeping your cool when your co-parent couples up

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones, the person who naturally can work with your ex to successfully co-parent. Communication is a breeze, everyone sticks to the plan and when your ex finds a new partner, no ugly feelings spring up. However, if you are like many other people, you may run into a few difficulties in co-parenting with the person you aren't married to anymore.

This can get even more challenging when your ex gets a new partner, because it can challenge some of your feelings about yourself, and point out some areas where you may need some more healing around the divorce. If there are real, legitimate problems with the new partner, such as toxic or unsafe behavior, you may need to revise the co-parenting plan, but more than likely there will simply be an adjustment period.

Child's best interests are the focus of parental responsibilities

If you are an active and involved parent, the most difficult part of a divorce might be the prospect of not seeing your children on a daily basis. However, divorce does not necessarily mean that one parent will be awarded sole physical custody while the other is relegated to only minimal visitation. Your parental responsibilities will likely end up being unique to you and your situation.

Although still colloquially called custody, Colorado officially switched from "child custody" to "parental responsibilities" back in 1999. This name change puts an emphasis on the role that parents play in these arrangements and eases off the notion that custody is something that makes one parent a winner, and the other a loser.

Divorce and separation basics

When it comes to ending your marriage, you may have questions about the specifics of separation and divorce. For some people, separation is a precursor to the divorce that will eventually end their marriage. Legal separation, since it is less common, can sometimes be an issue that individuals have questions about.

Divorce, separation and family laws vary by state, so if you have recently moved to Colorado or if you are unfamiliar with the law, you may wish to consult an attorney. You can also look up the laws online or at the courthouse. Many resources are available for people who are inquisitive about dissolving their marriage.

How does divorce work and how long does it take?

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, it is understandable that you would have some questions about the dissolution of marriage process. Two big questions many people in Colorado may have are: How does divorce work and long does the process take?

Believe it or not, there is more than one way to get through the divorce process, so the answers to these questions are really not all that straightforward. Finalizing a divorce can happen rather quickly, or it can take time. It depends on how you approach the matter.

Preparing for a hearing when negotiations don't go as planned

Chances are likely that as a parent, you consider the future of your kids to be of the utmost importance. Should you and the other parent reach an impasse, and decide to take separate paths moving forward, you might have concerns about how this decision will impact the kids.

Should the two of you be able to reach an agreement concerning a parenting plan, the process may end there, provided the arrangement is reasonable and in keeping with the best interests of the kid or kids. However, child custody is often a highly debatable topic, and negotiations may not always go as planned.

Change is often inevitable, and adjustments may be required

The end of a marriage is often a stressful and challenging period, especially when kids are involved. If you and your spouse have decided to move in separate directions, chances are, you will probably want to protect the future of your children by reaching a custody agreement that is in their best interests. However, covering every possibility the future may hold can be difficult at best.

Perhaps you have already obtained a divorce decree; then you may have a child custody agreement in place that dictates your current parenting schedule. While this arrangement might have been in the best interests of everyone involved at the time, some changes in life could spark a need for adjustments.

A parenting plan can help you better navigate the school year

Learning how to share custody can be a taxing experience for most Colorado parents. When you throw school meetings, homework and after school activities into the mix, you could find yourself struggling to find the right balance for both yourself and your children.

Parents of young children lead busy lives, and juggling work responsibilities with family time and your child's school obligations can get tough. That's where having a strong parenting plan comes into play. When parents can anticipate the common issues that children and families deal with, they become much better prepared to go with the natural flow.

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