COLORADO SPRINGS DIVORCE LAWYER
Choosing to pursue divorce is one of the most challenging and emotional decisions a person can make. When the legalities of ending a marriage combine with the emotional aspects of severing a marital relationship, the resulting process can be difficult to overcome alone. For divorcing parents, the process of splitting custody can be just as emotionally taxing. However, in many cases, a divorce is necessary to return to a healthy life.
YOUR NORTH STAR, JOHNSON LAW GROUP
Johnson Law Group provides skilled, compassionate legal services to divorcing individuals in Colorado Springs. Our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys believe that every individual dealing with divorce in our community encounters a unique set of circumstances. As such, we take the time to determine each client’s needs and craft representation that pursues a divorce settlement that fully meets them. As a result, the choices made throughout the legal process are specific to each client.
During difficult times, you should not need to worry about the quality of your legal services. Our attorneys have built an enormously positive, honest, and trustworthy reputation. More importantly, we ensure you are always informed of your rights and the options you have to preserve them. When you choose a Colorado Springs divorce attorney from Johnson Law Group, you can rest assured that your future is in good hands.
HOW CAN A DIVORCE ATTORNEY HELP YOU?
Divorce attorneys provide invaluable assistance with many different aspects of the divorce process, including:
- Custody agreements. When parents are divorcing, they must decide how both parents will maintain a healthy relationship with their children. The simplest way to create a custody agreement is to come to a mutually agreeable decision that suits both parents and present it for approval by a family court judge. If this is not possible, the judge will step in and make a ruling that meets the best needs of the children involved. In either situation, it is important to hire a divorce attorney that can help you settle your custody agreement amicably or pursue an equitable agreement in court.
- Property division. Property division is the process of determining which assets will belong to each spouse after divorce. Two of the most common issues that arise in property division are the equitable distribution of assets and the ownership of the marital residence. An attorney can ensure all assets are listed, all separate properties are protected, and that the marital estate is divided equitably according to Colorado law. A Colorado Springs divorce attorney can also arrange for expert testimony to further examine the assets held by each party.
- Child support. Child support is a monthly payment a non-custodial parent makes to the custodial parent for their share of the children’s expenses. This payment ensures both parents share the costs of raising the children. Child support determinations follow a formula that considers the income each person earns and what percentage of care each is responsible for based on those incomes. Both parents must provide as much financial information as possible when initiating divorce proceedings that involve children. A divorce attorney can help you examine these details to ensure each party has the support and resources they need to care for the child(ren).
- Spousal support. Spousal support is often referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance. This payment from one spouse to the other can occur during or after a divorce and is meant to prevent a divorcing spouse from experiencing a dramatic reduction in their standard of living post-divorce. Spouses can come to an agreement regarding how much money should be paid and for what length of time, or they may rely on a family court judge to make this determination. To receive spousal support payments, the spouse in question must meet specific requirements set by Colorado law—your Colorado Springs divorce attorney can help you determine if spousal support applies in your situation.
DO YOU NEED A LAWYER TO GET A DIVORCE IN COLORADO?
The answer is both yes and no. Technically speaking, a divorce lawyer is not legally required to divorce in Colorado. If you and your spouse have no children, own a relatively simple estate, agree on every aspect of your divorce, and are already familiar with the divorce process, you may not need a lawyer. However, if you anticipate a complex division of assets, child custody determinations, child support, or spousal support, you will benefit from the skilled representation a Colorado Springs divorce lawyer can provide.
A divorce lawyer can help you to ensure that your rights to your children, your finances, and your property are properly preserved. In addition, a legal team that can represent your interests can ensure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. A divorce attorney will be able to help you ensure all documentation is filed in a timely manner, reach a fair division of property, and negotiate child support, child custody, or spousal support agreement with your spouse. Not only can a divorce attorney make sure that you are not taken advantage of, but they will also offer their expertise and guidance to represent your best interests throughout the process.
HOW MUCH DOES A CONTESTED DIVORCE COST IN COLORADO?
Fees for a divorce in Colorado can quickly become costly, even if you choose to forego representation. Factors that could impact the overall cost of your divorce include:
- Attorney’s fees. A Colorado Springs divorce attorney may charge a flat fee for their services, depending on the anticipated complexity of the divorce. However, most charge by the hour, usually somewhere between $230 and $280 per hour.
- Retainer fees. “What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer” is a difficult question to answer. The retainer fee is a percentage of the anticipated total cost of the divorce you must pay upfront before an attorney will take your case. It depends on the complexity of your divorce and the attorney’s hourly fee.
- Filing fees. These fees are often included in the attorney’s retainer and are meant to pay for the attorney’s time spent filing the divorce petition and initiating the case with Colorado family court. Depending on the attorney, costs can be anywhere from $100 to $500.
- Court costs. The fees for Colorado family court are set by law. Court costs typically range from $100 to $400, depending on the number of hearings necessary to finalize your divorce.
After considering these potential costs, many individuals find themselves asking, “how much does a divorce cost in Colorado without a lawyer?” As mentioned, it is possible to divorce without a lawyer in the state of Colorado. However, choosing to pursue divorce alone to save money often proves unsuccessful. Without a skilled Colorado Springs divorce lawyer at your side, you risk missing important details regarding property division, spousal support, and child support that are likely to end up costing you much more than you would have saved.
A WALK THROUGH THE DIVORCE PROCESS
When one or both spouses decide to pursue a divorce, they must proceed through a specific set of steps to reach a divorce agreement. Before these steps begin, it is wise to consult with your divorce attorney to prepare for the process ahead. Keep in mind that some divorces happen quickly while others take an extended period to finalize—the length of your divorce depends on the complexity of the case, whether children or significant assets are involved, and more.
Regardless of complexity or net worth, your divorce will proceed through these five steps:
- Filing. Whether both spouses agree to a divorce or not, the first step in the divorce process is to file the divorce petition. You will need to provide you and your ex-spouse’s residency information as well as any other information requested by the court. In Colorado, which is considered a “no-fault” state, you do not need to indicate who is at fault or provide grounds for divorce beyond a marriage that is irretrievably broken.
- Temporary orders. Colorado has a mandatory 90-day waiting period before a final divorce decree can be issued. If either spouse requires spousal support, child support, child custody, or even a temporary restraining order while the divorce proceedings unfold, this request can be granted by a family court judge at this time. Temporary orders are valid until they are superseded by the contents of the divorce decree.
- Service and response. You must serve your spouse with the petition for divorce and provide documentation of this service. Failure to do so can delay your divorce proceedings. Similarly, if your spouse evades service or fails to respond, your divorce may be delayed or even result in a default judgment in your favor. When you file for a divorce, your lawyer can deliver the paperwork to your spouse’s attorney’s office.
- Negotiation. If you and your spouse have parted amicably and agree on all the terms of your divorce, you can simply arrange a meeting between the two of you and your respective attorneys. If you do not agree, or if you have a complex set of assets, children, or other contentious matters, your case will enter the discovery phase. During discovery, each lawyer will gather documents, request subpoenas, and ask questions to ensure both sides have all the necessary information. Some couples may enter mediation, in which a third-party mediator guides negotiations in the hopes of achieving an agreement outside of court. If no agreement is possible, the case will proceed to litigation.
- Trial. If you cannot come to an agreement during discovery, then your case will proceed to trial. The judge will make a decision based on the discovery evidence from both sides and file the final divorce order. It is worth noting that, even if you arrive at an agreement regarding child support or child custody, a judge must still approve it in family court before it becomes final. Participating in negotiations or mediation and arriving at a mutually agreeable settlement will save you and your spouse time spent in court and money on the associate court and lawyers’ fees.
HOW IS CHILD CUSTODY DETERMINED IN COLORADO?
Colorado family court judges prefer to allow both parents to maintain an active role in their children’s lives and will often grant joint custody to both parents. This means the children will live with each parent part of the time. Other arrangements allow children to spend some nights, weekends, or holidays with the other parent. In this scenario, one parent could be awarded “primary physical custody” of the children while the other parent is given “secondary physical custody.”
Colorado considers two primary types of custody—legal and physical custody. Physical custody is what most people mean when they refer to child custody and dictates the child’s living arrangements and the time a child spends with either parent. Joint physical custody or split custody allows the children to spend roughly equivalent amounts of time with each parent. Primary custody refers to a situation when one parent takes the majority of responsibility for the children’s daily living. Sole custody may be necessary if the children’s other parent is unfit or moves out of state.
Legal custody allows a parent or guardian to make important decisions regarding the children’s health, safety, and welfare. Decisions could also include where the children attend school or what religion they follow. The judge in your case will review your affidavits and may conduct a hearing to reach a custody and visitation schedule that is in the best interests of your children. You can craft your own agreement or utilize mediation to help you reach an agreement the judge can then approve. If you cannot reach an agreement, the family court judge will make the decision for you.
YOUR NORTH STAR IN COLORADO SPRINGS, JOHNSON LAW GROUP
The Johnson Law Group, LLC is an experienced, dedicated law practice located in Colorado Springs, offering creative solutions to complex problems, including divorce. With our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys on your side, you can feel confident knowing your legal needs will be handled by an experienced advocate who understands both the court system and your case. As a full-service law firm, we offer divorce mediation, litigation, and other family law services to the residents of Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. To request information or schedule a personalized consultation, contact us online today.