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Highlands Ranch Family Law Blog

Financial aspects of a Colorado divorce

In many marriages, one spouse handles the majority of the financial aspects while the other spouse takes care of other responsibilities. This concept can work great as long as the marriage is on stable ground. However, if the Colorado couple decides to divorce, it is important for both parties to be aware of their various assets, liabilities and other financial concerns.

Unfortunately, sometimes one spouse is kept in the dark financially. Then, when the marriage begins to fall apart, the other spouse is not forthcoming with financial information. For this reason, when one begins to suspect that a divorce may be in the future, he or she will want to begin gathering financial information. The best place to start with this is by creating a list of all marital assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies and more. Then a similar listing of all debts should be compiled.

Understanding dissipation of marital wealth during divorce

Ending a marriage requires a great deal of planning and a thorough exchange of information between parties and legal professionals. That process can seem tedious at times, especially for couples in Colorado who have a diverse mix of assets at the time of their divorce. Unfortunately, there are cases in which one spouse has inappropriately transferred or otherwise disposed of funds that should have been held in the marital assets "pot."

This process is known as dissipation, and is more common than many people believe. Dissipation can take a number of different forms. Perhaps the most well-known is when one spouse spends marital funds to support an affair with a third party.

Mother arrested in long-standing child custody dispute

Faced with a custody order that is difficult to accept, some Colorado parents may be tempted to act in opposition to that order. Doing so, however, is almost always a bad idea. An example is found in a case in which a mother was arrested for violating a child custody court order by removing the child from her state of residence and concealing the family's whereabouts from the child's father.

In 2014, a judge ordered that the mother would share joint custody of her son with his father. Instead of adhering to that decision, the woman instead chose to flee the area, taking both of her children with her. She was able to resettle in the Pacific Northwest, and lived there undetected for years.

One state clarifies child custody for same-sex parents

Most Colorado residents are aware of the landmark United States Supreme Court decision to legitimize same-sex marriage. Since that time, many same-sex couples have struggled in the area of child custody rights. Courts across the nation continue to hear cases in which same-sex parents argue over matters of child custody. One state's Supreme Court recently ruled on the matter, clarifying the application of the Supreme Court ruling to cases before state courts.

The case involved two women who were legally married and who made the decision to add to their family. One woman served as the biological parent of their child, although both were instrumental in parenting. When the relationship came to an end, the biological mother sought full child custody rights. She made the legal argument that her spouse enjoyed no biological or legal link to their child.

Understanding the difference between an annulment and divorce

For most Colorado couples, entering into marriage is an expression of commitment, one that is taken very seriously. However, there are circumstances under which marriages are brought to a close in a very short duration of time. In such cases, an annulment can be a powerful tool. Understanding the differences between an annulment and a divorce can help spouses make the right decision for their particular set of needs.

A divorce is the legal end of a marriage. It entails a process through which property is divided, child custody rights are determined and many other matters are sorted out either through negotiation or by the power of the court. A divorce can take place at any time after a marriage has been initiated.

Divorce and Small Business

No matter who you are a divorce is always a difficult process. However, when one or both spouses are small business owners, dividing the business assets can make the process even more difficult and complex. While some people may not think of a small business as martial property, business assets are treated just like other assets and are subject to marital division. The following two situations involving small businesses often complicate the divorce process for business owners. 

Can an inmate pursued divorce while incarcerated?

When most Colorado spouses decide to end a marriage, there are very few obstacles in place to prevent that process from moving forward. For those who are incarcerated, however, it may be considerably more difficult, if not impossible, to file for and complete a divorce. This is an issue that receives very little attention, but can be incredibly harmful to people who are serving time.

Part of the problem lies in the roles that structure the divorce process. Very often, an individual or his or her attorney must show up in person to file the initial paperwork needed to start the divorce. For inmates, this hurdle may be one that is next to impossible to cross. Without the financial resources to hire a family law attorney, an inmate has no way to even begin the divorce process until he or she is released.

A financial adviser can assist with divorce financial disclosure

Part of the process of ending a marriage involves both parties completing financial disclosure forms. For some Colorado families, this is a simple and straightforward process. For others, it can be quite complex, either due to the reluctance of a spouse to be forthcoming about money matters, or a complex asset portfolio. Either scenario can be addressed by the addition of a financial adviser to the divorce team.

In cases where a spouse is acting to intentionally hide assets, a financial adviser can be instrumental in finding and documenting wealth that has been excluded from the disclosure process. If necessary, the financial adviser can work with the divorce attorney to ask the court to compel disclosure. Very often, simply filing such a request is sufficient to spur the reluctant spouse into compliance.

The practical benefits of a collaborative divorce

Many Colorado residents are familiar with the term collaborative law, but are unsure exactly what that means. Collaborative law offers spouses the ability to work together to iron out the details of their divorce settlement. Both parties enter the process with a shared commitment to resolve their issues on their own, outside of a court of law. Both parties are able to retain individual legal counsel, but the role of those attorneys is to facilitate a collaborative solution, not to take an adversarial stance on various divorce issues.

Collaboration has a number of benefits, some of which are emotional and others that are practical. In terms of financial matters, a collaborative divorce offers couples a high degree of privacy. In traditional litigation, a great deal of financial information is discussed in open court, where anyone present can hear. When couples are able to reach a settlement through collaboration, much of their financial information remains private.

Calendar options for children adjusting to child custody changes

For Colorado families with children, adjusting to the changes that come with a divorce can be a difficult process. One of the biggest hurdles for children of divorce is a feeling of utter lack of control. All of a sudden, they are faced with changes to where they will live, with whom they will spend their time and which parent will be present for school events, sporting activities and social gatherings. Coming to terms with those child custody changes is not easy, for parents or for children.

A great way to assist kids who are struggling to adjust to custody changes is to provide a visual means of tracking the family's schedule. One company has created a magnetic calendar that gives kids a clear idea of where and with whom they will be on any given day. The calendar uses a magnetic calendar board that comes in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly arrangements. Round magnets are customized to show various family members, houses and a full range of schools, sports or social activities.

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Brandon Ceglian

Brandon Ceglian's practice focus is family law, landlord-tenant law / real estate, civil litigation, criminal / DUI, and collections. View Attorney Profile

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J. Adam Beckman

Adam Beckman’s areas of focus are family law, adoptions and prenuptial agreements, and criminal law/DUI. View Attorney Profile

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Domenic Nicotra

Domenic Nicotra’s practices primarily in the areas of Landlord-Tenant, Family Law, Criminal, Protection Orders, and Civil Litigation. View Attorney Profile

Daniel J. Zolnikov

Daniel J. Zolnikov

Daniel Zolnikov practices in the areas of HOA, debt collections, landlord tenant, civil litigation and construction law. View Attorney Profile