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For parents, making the decision to divorce can be especially difficult

Your marriage is over. In fact, you may be reading this now because you are planning to file for divorce and exploring your options. As easy as it may seem to complete the process in your mind, there is one thing holding you back. You fear that divorce will have a negative effect on your children.

Perhaps you know other unhappily married Colorado parents who stayed together for years for their children's sake. Maybe your own parents made such a sacrifice. It is undoubtedly a difficult decision to make, and the deeper you search for answers, the more conflicted you may become.

I never finalized my divorce and now I've met someone new

Just as there are many ways to maintain a healthy marriage, there are many ways to end one. Divorce is the most common, while legal separation is a worthwhile solution for some. There are tangible benefits to separation -- perhaps one partner requires health insurance and has a complex medical background, or maybe it always seemed easiest to tell the kids you were separated instead of divorced.

In its simplest terms, separation is often considered a short-term solution and its benefits may hinder other parts of your life the longer you maintain the status. If you've been in a long-term separation, it feels normal, but many aspects of your life are legally on hold. Everyone falls victim to routine and it's easy for one year to become three or ten. What happens if you've fully moved on from your former partner and you've met someone new-but you're still legally married?

How to tell the kids about a divorce

The last thing a parent wants to do is cause their child any pain. Sharing life-changing news with a child can be intimidating and difficult, but doing so early can save them from unnecessary added heartache.

If you and your spouse are planning to split up, have an open dialogue about how to share this news with the kids. When possible, do it together. Every family unit is unique, but here are a few basic tips to prepare for telling the kids about an impending divorce.

Do you wonder what the big deal is with divorce mediation?

When the divorce rate in this country reached an all time high of 50 percent, couples here in Colorado and elsewhere became disheartened by the cost, time and hassle involved in going through the traditional court process. It seemed to only cause deeper discontent and contention between couples and often caused far more harm than good, especially for couples with children.

For these and other reasons, divorce mediation gained popularity. Even couples who may have failed to agree in a courtroom setting were putting aside their differences in order to take advantage of this kinder, gentler and less expensive way to end their marriages.

In some cases, legal separation is more beneficial than divorce

Making the choice to formally and legally end your marriage is a difficult one. Even in relatively amicable situations in which both parties commit to working peacefully together, it can complex to deal with issues such as property division and child custody. In some cases, a Colorado couple may want to live separately but refrain from moving forward with the divorce process at the time.

When divorce is not an option but remaining together is not an option either, it may be beneficial to move forward with a legal separation. This is different from divorce in many ways, but it can provide certain protections and security as you begin a new life separate from your partner. There is more involved with a legal separation than simply moving out.

Steps to protect your finances even after a divorce is finalized

If you and your spouse have made the decision to take separate paths in life, you could be wondering how the process might affect your future. Going through a divorce can be a stressful and harrowing experience, and the outcome of the situation can have a substantial impact on your finances.

While there may be certain steps you can take to prepare yourself to pursue a favorable outcome during divorce proceedings, this might not be the only area that requires your attention. Even after you obtain a divorce decree, you may still need to take steps to protect your financial future.

Wondering what the basic divorce process is like?

There really isn't such a thing as a "typical" divorce because no two marital situations are exactly the same; therefore, neither are any two divorces. Also, Colorado divorce laws may vary from another state's, so there's no "national standard" in place when it comes to divorce, either. There are, however, basic process steps that most divorces follow, with variables inserted according to individual circumstances, as warranted.

Especially if you have only been married once, you may be a bit nervous about navigating the civil justice system. You may also be wondering if you and your spouse will be able to achieve an amicable settlement when it comes time to negotiate all the different issues regarding child custody, property division and spousal support. The more you know about the process ahead of time, the better prepared you can be. It's also good to have resources on standby should any obstacles arise.

Creative option to help your kids cope with divorce

When you realized your marriage was headed for divorce, you began to consider ways you might be able to help your children come to terms with idea. A main concern of yours involved telling your kids you'd all be moving to a new home. They really like where they live now, have been at the same school for a long time and have established friendships, as well as participate in various sports and community activities. You don't want to bear the news that all that's about to change.  

The good news is you may have another option! Many Colorado parents implement a creative form of co-parenting in divorce known as bird nesting. You can research the topic to determine if you think it may be a viable option in your situation. It definitely doesn't work in all cases; however, if you try it and decide it's not best for your family, you can always ask the court to modify your parenting plan. If you know where to seek support ahead of time, that process needn't be difficult. 

How to help your kids come to terms with your divorce

You and your spouse may be one of many young, professional couples who were excited to settle in Adams County or a surrounding area to go for gold in your careers and provide your children with the best opportunities the region has to offer. Colorado consistently ranks high for per capita income, which may be one of the things that attracted you when deciding where to live when you got married.  

All that may seem like a lifetime ago now that much has changed, your kids are getting older and you are preparing for divorce. You'll be glad to know there are strong support networks in place that can help you navigate the process, achieve a fair and agreeable settlement, protect your rights as a parent and keep your children's best interests a central focus of the proceedings. In the meantime, there's a lot you can do from your end to help your kids adapt to their new lifestyle. 

You can modify your child support payment amount in certain cases

In Colorado, the payments you make for child support are based on both your income and the other parent's income, as well as the earning potential for both of you. These payments are also based on the children's specific monetary needs.

However, what happens if you can no longer make these payments due to a change in your income? In this situation, you may want to seek to modify your child support payment amount. Here is a look at what child support modification entails.

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