Danielsen Westhoff
Handling Family Law Matters Throughout the Greater Denver Metro Area
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Jefferson County Family Law Blog

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.

What is divorce mediation and is it right for us?

Have you and your spouse decided that your marriage has come to an end? Do you have young children? In that case, you may agree that you want to make the transition from one household to two as easy as possible on your children. You may know that you want to continue to raise your children together despite the fact that you want to divorce.

If this sounds familiar, then you and your spouse may be in a place where you want to work out your divorce issues on your own, but need a little extra help to make sure you stay on track. Mediation could help you reach a settlement on your own and without court intervention.

Making it over the child custody mountain in Colorado

As one life divides into two, you must make many tough decisions. For example, the division of all of your marital possessions often becomes a difficult process. While emotions may run high, in the end it's only money and material goods. They may be valuable, and you may be sentimental about some of it, but you move forward.

For parents, a far more difficult process may be waiting. Children are not assets for valuation and division; they are your most priceless treasures. If you are concerned about what will happen to your kids now that your marriage is ending, the following information may be of help.

My soon-to-be ex and I get along. So do I need a parenting plan?

Along with property division, child-related matters are typically the most challenging issues to navigate in a divorce. You and your soon-to-be ex will have to make important decisions about the children; otherwise, the judge will make them for you. You will need to draft a parenting plan to indicate the times the kids spend with each of you, where exchanges will take place and much more.

You may feel that you and your spouse get along just fine and that drafting a parenting plan will be a waste of time. However, depending on the age of your children when you divorce, there may be many years until they are off to college or turn 18, and a lot can happen to sour your relationship with the other parent during that time.

Why hiring the right divorce lawyer is invaluable to your future

The main ingredients of a divorce are said to be emotional distress, time and cost -- all of which are manageable. Are you considering divorce, or have you just found out that your spouse has filed for divorce? Sure, you can handle your own divorce, but then you will also have to cope with the mentioned ingredients on your own. You may not realize that experienced family law attorneys offer more than just fighting court battles.

If chosen with care, you can have a lawyer in your corner from the onset, providing guidance, support and valuable input while protecting your rights. A knowledgeable attorney can assist from the time you sign a prenup, throughout any difficulties of your marriage, and know your family dynamics by the time you file for divorce.

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