An Experienced Denver Divorce Attorney Makes The Process Easier
I’m Jennifer Lewis and I understand firsthand how stressful a divorce can be. It’s my job to make sure that someone is by your side every step of the way, helping you make the right decisions for yourself and your family. As an experienced divorce and child custody lawyer serving Denver County, Colorado, I’m here to ensure that your divorce process goes as smoothly as possible.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT IN A DIVORCE?
Knowing what to expect during the divorce and mediation process reduces stress. I offer an additional consultation to go over every aspect of what will happen, so you can be fully prepared. The dissolution of a marriage is an emotionally, mentally, and financially stressful event for everyone involved.
In the state of Colorado, one thing you can expect is that the divorce process will last at least 3 months. During the Colorado Divorce Process, there is at least a 91-day waiting period between the time the paperwork is filed and when the divorce becomes official. Knowing what to expect during the Colorado Divorce Process can help reduce some of the discomforts. There are several main steps to the divorce process, including:
- Initial filing and service
- Overall case management
- Issuing of temporary orders
- Common discovery procedures
- Settlement efforts such as mediation sessions
BENEFITS TO HAVING AN EXPERIENCED DIVORCE ATTORNEY:
In a divorce, it is crucial to hire an experienced Denver divorce attorney so that you have someone who is advocating on your behalf during this difficult time. I have many years of professional legal experience in Colorado and can help you through all the ins and outs of the complex divorce process. On a personal level, I have also experienced a divorce myself, so I know firsthand how emotionally draining and frustrating it can be.
An experienced divorce attorney can:
- Advocate on your you and your family’s behalf
- Provide coaching during the often stressful and confusing process
- Best prepare you for what to expect during the divorce proceedings
- Protect yourself and your children to ensure that everyone will be financially supported
Initial Filing for Divorce in Colorado
Your divorce proceedings begin with the filing of an official petition for marriage dissolution. This paperwork can be filed by either or both partners. Since Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, you won’t need to specify a reason for seeking the dissolution. Stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken is enough to justify the process.
However, in order to qualify for a divorce in Colorado, you will need to establish domicile in the state for at 91 days prior to the filing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to live in Colorado. Instead, filers can show that they intend to live in the state by:
- Maintaining a local voter’s registration
- Having a Colorado mailing address
- Registering a car with the state
- Owning residential property in the state
If paperwork is filed by one partner, the other has 21 days to respond to the petition. If the other partner lives out of state, the response time is extended to 35 days.
If both parties are able to agree on all issues related to child custody, support payments, and property distribution, a decree of dissolution of marriage can be entered by the Court ninety-one days after filing with no further actions necessary. If your situation is more complicated, additional hearings, conferences, mediation and possibly a trial may be needed to get everything sorted out.
After the initial filing of a petition for marriage dissolution, court officials will create a schedule for the remainder of the process. This usually happens about six weeks after the petition is filed. A representative of the Colorado courts will meet with the petitioner and respondent to determine what hearings are necessary to decide property distribution, child custody, and any other issues that the divorcing parties can’t agree on.
- The first meeting, called the initial status conference, is an opportunity for both parties to meet in the presence of a family court facilitator or magistrate judge and decide which issues need to be addressed.
- During the financial disclosure process, both parties reveal their financial debts and assets.
- A temporary orders hearing allows the courts to make short-term decisions on things like payment of bills, support and child custody. These arrangements are subject to change with subsequent proceedings.
- Discoveries are court-ordered requests for information. This is usually done in the form of written questions, called interrogatories and request for production of documents. Answers provided to these questions are to be treated like testimony on a witness stand. Lying on these forms has serious legal consequences.
Regardless of the type of petition filed, the law for the Colorado divorce process requires divorcing partners to take part in settlement conferences. These meetings are designed to resolve any leftover issues and set both partners up for their best life after the divorce is finalized. These can include:
- Parenting classes for those with minor children
- Mediation sessions, including one prior to the final hearing.
- A non-contested permanent order hearing in cases where both parties agree that all matters have been resolved to their mutual satisfaction
The number and purpose of settlement conferences depend on the details of your case. Talk to your legal representative for more details on what you can expect with your case.
Divorce Decree Modification Guidance
Divorce doesn’t end families. Instead, bonds are reformed in potentially stronger ways. As separating families grow into their new lives, the orders in their original divorce decree don’t necessarily fit their changing needs or circumstances. In other cases, small mistakes could lead to a verdict that doesn’t do justice to one or both of the separating parties.
As an experienced family law attorney, I have helped countless Colorado families renegotiate the terms of their divorce decrees. In turn, Lewis and Matthew’s specialized knowledge and experience qualify us to resolve a variety of issues regarding divorce decree whether they are related to a modification of child support, custody, and visitation, or modification of alimony.
What Constitutes a Divorce Decree Modification?
Life happens quickly. Changes in health, economic status, or personal preferences can turn your original divorce decree into a burden. When that happens, divorce decree modifications allow divorced partners to alter previous judgments. The modification decree isn’t a repeat of your divorce proceedings. Rather, it is an official court review of specific aspects of your original orders. Separated partners can use this legal tool to reexamine some common issues:
- Child custody modifications – Custody issues change frequently. A parent who wants more time with their children can petition the courts to take another look at their circumstances. Petitioners can present evidence that supports their claim, including an increase or decrease in income, improved living quarters, or other proof of their parental fitness.
- Parenting plan modifications – As children grow, your vision for their future naturally adjusts. When that vision interferes with your court-ordered parenting plan, a modification decree helps co-parenting partners work out the details on the new direction. Adjustments to parenting plans include changes of residence, renegotiation of parental authority, and academic issues.
- Modification of child support or alimony – When financial circumstances change, divorce decrees allow divorced parents to adjust their child support agreements. If one partner remarries, gets a better job, or suffers some bad luck, they can ask the courts to alter these payments. There are also times when the original orders were issued without the proper information. A modification decree lets divorced partners present all applicable information and receive a more balanced judgment.
Even if the two parties agree on the required divorce decree modifications, it’s always a good idea to validate those decisions in court. Legally-binding documents make it less likely that either party will fail to fulfill their end of the deal.Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney & Mediator Today!
In some cases, partners have a hard time agreeing on some matters. When this happens, a trial occurs. For divorce in Colorado, a judge will review the details of the case, hear testimonies of the parties and their witnesses, and make a legally binding decision based on the presented evidence. Also called a permanent orders hearing, a divorce trial can take a long time to resolve. However, this may be the best option for those who aren’t able to get their partners to agree on important details. Any established temporary orders remain active until the presiding judge changes them or issues new orders.
You don’t have to navigate the Colorado divorce process alone. I’m Jennifer Lewis, one of the partners of Lewis & Matthews. I’ve had my own personal experiences with divorce, so I know how challenging it can be to handle alone or even with some guidance. I am here to help walk you through the entire Colorado divorce process while advocating for your best interests. With sympathetic and knowledgeable legal representation, you can get through your divorce with minimal distress and wasted time. We are your source for compassionate and experienced legal guidance. From initial filing to final orders, we’ll stand by you throughout the entire Colorado divorce process to ensure you get what you need to start your new life on the right foot. Our representatives take care of all the legal legwork so you can concentrate on rebuilding. Get Help with the Colorado Divorce Process Today!
Although going through a divorce can be painful, sometimes it is one of life’s necessities. As a compassionate and caring Denver divorce attorney, I’m here to help guide you every step of the way. Contact me, Jennifer Lewis, to schedule a confidential appointment.