Colorado is a no-fault state, so the fact that your spouse is having an affair or running up the hill and gambling, really isn’t a factor that the court cares about. The fact that your spouse likes to watch pornography isn’t really a factor unless it affects the children. Or you can show economic fault, in other words you can show that so much money was spent gambling or so much money was spent on another party, another person, that it rises to the level of economic fault. That’s an extreme situation.
Mediation is a process where the parties try to reach an agreed-upon resolution of their situation with the assistance of a mediator. A mediator is a neutral third party who has been trained in the mediation process. There are a lot of different mediators out there. There are mediators that have been approved by the courts and work with the Office of Dispute Resolution Services. Those mediators charge $120 an hour, and that’s typically divided equally between the parties. There are some very skilled mediators that work with ODR. Other mediators are attorneys who have been practicing family law for a long period of time, and they can charge as much as $300 to $350 an hour, depending on their skill level. We typically use those mediators when there’s a lot of assets that need to be divided, or there are really hairy child custody issues that we have to hash out.
First we need to look and see whether or not you’re listed on the birth certificate, that’s one factor to consider. If you are not married you can file an allocation for parental responsibilities to establish parenting time and decision making with your child. You can also get a court order that requires your name to be added to the child’s birth certificate. This action is filed in the county where you reside and as part of that action we will come up with a parenting plan and a child support order that works for your unique situation.
When can a child support order be modified? A child support order can be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that results in a 10% or more change in the underlying support obligation. Examples would be a change in income of either party, a change in work or education-related childcare costs, a change in health insurance premiums, and other things that might change the amount of child support that’s due, so we would look at those factors and put that into a child support worksheet and look at what the guideline amount is recommended to be. If you have questions about your child support order, please come in and see me. We can run some child support worksheets and figure out if your child support should be modified.
Well, yes and no. There is a provision for a legal separation. Basically you have to go through the same steps as you do if you’re getting a divorce. You have to fill out the sworn financial statement. You have to try to arrive at a financial settlement and child support and maintenance if that applies. So that is an option. The issue with a legal separation is that either party can convert that to a decree of dissolution of marriage six months after the decree has been entered by the court.