Once you have decided to end your marriage, what is the first step you should take? While going through a divorce can be incredibly painful and emotional, you need to know how the process works to make the best decisions for your future. You’ve come to the right place for help with the divorce process in Denver. Read more to familiarize yourself with the issues of divorce so you can better understand the financial and legal ramifications of starting a divorce proceeding.
ARE THERE RESIDENCY LAWS FOR DIVORCE?
Before you can start any legal proceeding, you need to research Colorado’s residency requirements. Before filing a divorce petition, meet with experienced Denver divorce attorney Johnson Law Group to ensure you can forward with a formal written request for a divorce.
Resident laws require you to have lived in Denver for a minimum amount of time before you are eligible to apply for a divorce. In most counties, the period required is one year. If you or your spouse are currently living in another state, a waiting period may apply.
WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE?
The grounds for divorce are the legal reasons on which you are basing your request that the court allows you to end your marriage. Typically, grounds fall into one of two categories: no-fault and fault-based grounds.
Fault-based grounds require you to show some evidence that your spouse committed an act such as adultery, cruelty or desertion that has caused the marriage to end. While there are not many benefits to filing for a fault-based divorce over a no-fault divorce, you may receive sympathy from the judge when determining alimony or the division of marital assets.
No-fault divorces are more common than fault-based divorces and are primarily based on irreconcilable differences. In short, filing for a no-fault divorce means you and your partner can no longer get along and you do not believe that relations will improve in the future. No-fault divorces are common for a variety of reasons. First, you do not have to show evidence that your spouse did something wrong. If you are not accusing your spouse of wrongdoing, the divorce process generally takes less time and causes less anxiety and tension.
HOW DO I FILE FOR DIVORCE?
The divorce process legally begins when you complete the appropriate paperwork and file it in a Colorado court. A complaint or petition begins the divorce process. The Johnson Law Group can help you prepare and file all divorce documents, including the petition. A complaint is a specific petition to the court to end your marriage. Parties are referred to as either the "plaintiff" or the "defendant" in a complaint, while they are referred to as "petitioner" and "respondent" in other petitions.
After the complaint is filed, your spouse will be notified. The complaint can be delivered to your spouse in person or the document is sometimes allowed to be mailed. After your spouse has been served with the appropriate paperwork, court proceedings are officially started.
A multitude of factors can impact the divorce process. Some couples choose to divide property and set up custody agreements without involving lawyers. However, most couples use lawyers to ensure their interests are best served in court. Mediation is also an option for those who want to deal with the divorce outside of court.
HOW IS CHILD CUSTODAY DETERMINED?
If you and your spouse have children, custody will likely be the main issue in your divorce. Colorado law dictates that all custody issues are settled with the best interests of the child in mind. When possible, this usually means having both parents involved in a child’s life.
Joint legal custody is often the best outcome when it comes to a child custody case. In joint custody cases, both you and your spouse have a say in the child’s education, upbringing and medical treatment. However, joint legal custody does not necessarily mean joint physical custody.
If you have joint physical custody, the child spends the same time living with each parent. However, this may not be feasible for several reasons. Typically, the judge grants sole physical custody to one parent but provides the other parent with pre-scheduled visitation and parenting time. Most judges recommend the noncustodial parent spend one or two evenings a week and every other weekend with the child.
DO I NEED TO PAY ALIMONY?
Alimony is commonly referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance. Most judges do not award permanent alimony. Instead, many courts award alimony for a limited period of time. For instance, one type of spousal maintenance is called rehabilitative alimony. Courts sometimes award this for a fairly short period, typically two years or less. The support ends when the courts believe a partner can viably enter the workforce and earn a living.
Some courts award reimbursement alimony. This type of spousal support is awarded when one spouse contributed to the other’s college education or career. The theory behind reimbursement alimony is that spouses need to be repaid for costs they incurred for the benefit of the other partner.
Regardless of the type of alimony being awarded, courts often consider the following factors when awarding spousal maintenance:
• A spouse’s need for support
• A partner’s ability to pay
• Each spouse's job history
• The duration of the marriage
• Each spouse’s income
• Each spouse’s education level
• Each spouse’s childcare duties
• The division of property
Historically, the male in a partnership often paid alimony to the female after the dissolution of a marriage. However, this trend is quickly changing as more women are earning higher incomes than men and more men choose to stay home with children.
CONTACT DENVER DIVORCE ATTORNEYS AT JOHNSON LAW GROUP
If you are struggling with any aspect of the divorce process, including alimony, child custody or property separation, contact Johnson Law Group
. Our team of lawyers is experienced in all aspects of divorce law and well-versed in Denver’s laws and regulations. You do not need to endure this difficult journey alone. Get the help you need. Contact Johnson Law Group today at 720-463-4333 to schedule a consultation.